Drew Peterson attorney Joel Brodsky asked the judge to warn the gallery not to react to anything said by attorneys during closing arguments.

“I asked that you caution the gallery to remain absolutely silent as to any remarks of approval or disapproval to the remarks of counsel,” Brodsky said.

Judge Edward Burmila, who has admonished the gallery several times after outbursts in the trial, said he didn't see any need to issue a warning prior to closing arguments.

“One can only assume that people in the gallery know they're in a courtroom and if they were to make any outburst, the court would have to deal with that,” he said.




9:50 a.m. Courtroom packed for closings

Court watchers began lining up for seats to today's closing arguments Monday afternoon, officials said.

Four people arrived at the courthouse at 1 p.m. Monday and another arrived at around 8 p.m. to get a seat for closings in the Drew Peterson murder trial, said Kathleen Hoffmeyer, a spokeswoman for the Will County sheriff's department. Another dozen arrived between 3 and 4 a.m.

By 9:30 a.m., both the courtroom and overflow room — where an audio feed of the trial is played — were packed with spectators and a relative of Kathleen Savio who complained that the family should have been allowed to fill the courtroom before the public.

“I don't care what time they got here -- the family's more important,” he said, his hands folded across a gray suit coat festooned with a large button featuring Savio's face.

Will County state's attorney's office spokesman Chuck Pelkie said he sympathized, but said the judge and the sheriff's department set aside seating for the alleged victim's immediate family.

“They've done everything they can to make sure that the direct family members are accommodated,” Pelkie said.

The trial opened about 9:50 a.m., as the attorneys hashed out a few final issues regarding jury instructions.




6:45 a.m. Closing arguments today

Jurors in the Drew Peterson murder trial will hear closing arguments Tuesday morning after listening to five weeks of evidence in the unusual circumstantial case.

The former Bolingbrook police sergeant, 58, is charged with drowning his third wife, Kathleen Savio, whose 2004 drowning in her bathtub was treated as an accident until Peterson's fourth wife, Stacy, 23, vanished three years later.

Peterson's trial has featured three near mistrials, jurors coordinating their clothing and, last week, a defense witness who testified Peterson's fourth wife told him Peterson murdered Savio.

The fourth-floor Joliet courtroom where the Will County trial is being heard is expected to be packed Tuesday.

Defense attorney Joseph Lopez will give Peterson's closing argument, a speech he said he had put more than 50 hours of preparation into crafting, sometimes over dinner with his wife, Lisa, who is also on the defense team.