Final holdout juror: 'It was only the hearsay that convicted him'

Chicago Tribune

The final juror to change his mind and decide that Drew Peterson was guilty of killing his third wife Kathleen Savio says he was persuaded by hearsay testimony.

“It was only the hearsay that convicted him," said Ron Supalo of Bolingbrook.

Supalo said he was the last of the 12 jurors to decide to vote guilty. He had gone home Wednesday night still thinking Peterson was not guilty.

Jurors had taken three votes during their first day of deliberations on Wednesday: The first had seven voting guilty, four voting not guilty and one undecided. By the third vote, Supalo said, it was 11 voting guilty and he was the lone hold-out.

Before going to court this morning, Supalo said he wrote down some questions in a notebook and then discussed them with the other jurors. He wouldn’t say what the questions were.

“After talking with them, in my mind I reached (that he was guilty beyond) reasonable doubt,” Supalo said.

“Some of the jurors said they thought he was innocent, but when we heard the two hearsay witnesses – bam – it changed our minds," he said.

Another juror, Scott Washington, had little to say about the trial: “It was a tough decision. We had to do what we had to do, but I think it was just.”

Asked what he thought of Peterson, Washington said, “He's a good father and he had good defense attorneys, but I think the decision speaks for itself.”

Another juror reached by phone said: “We were cooped up for five weeks in trial. I understand people are interested. ... But everybody just wants some time to regroup.”

Eddie Saldana, the father of juror Eduardo Saldana, said his son did not wish to speak to the media. “He's very tired,” the father said. “It's been five very long weeks.”

Asked if he thought his son was relieved the trial was over, Eddie Saldana said: “Actually he's been very quiet for the last five weeks. He's been extremely quiet. When he comes in we've had to turn the news off, but he's a sports guy – football and baseball.”

Tribune reporter Rex Huppke contributed to this story. Meyer and Manchir are Tribune reporters. Ruzich is a freelancer.

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