By Steve Schmadeke, Matthew Walberg and Stacy St. Clair
5:27 PM EDT, September 4, 2012
Continual coverage of the trial of Drew Peterson for the murder of his third wife, Kathleen Savio.
4:20 p.m. Deliberations to begin Wednesday
The judge released the jury for the day, saying he "did not anticipate that the arguments would take as long as they did."
Judge Edward Burmila told the jury to return Wednesday morning when he will give them their instructions and they will begin deliberating.
3:30 p.m. Glasgow ends rebuttal
State’s Attorney James Glasgow has ended his rebuttal.
“In this case you combine all of the evidence -- the scientific evidence from the expert, all of the circumstantial evidence that's been admitted regarding the physical attacks... (and) Stacy's statements most importantly, and the defendant's statements to the media showing consciousness of guilt — we don't have to prove each beyond a reasonable doubt,” Glasgow said. “But when combined...you can absolutely see that we have proven this beyond a reasonable doubt. It's solid, it's real, and it proves beyond a reasonable doubt that Drew Peterson killed Kathleen Savio in cold blood. And we ask that you return a verdict of guilty. Thank you.”
The judge recessed the trial for 30 minutes to allow the jurors to eat lunch before he reads them the jury instructions.
3:20 p.m. Witness statement 'rings true'
State’s Attorney James Glasgow quickly went through the testimony of Kristin Anderson and Mary Parks, who testified about how Kathleen Savio told them of threats made by Peterson and later tried to call police when they learned of her death.
In Anderson's case, “she made three separate phone calls to the state police,” Glasgow said. ““She made every effort to report it, and it fell on deaf ears.”
Savio’s sister Anna Doman, he said, told the jury that Savio said weeks before her death that Peterson threatened to kill her.
“That statement, based on all the facts and circumstances in this case, rings true. And that's what happened.”
3 p.m. Peterson acted suspiciously, Glasgow says
Prosectur James Glasgow shifted his attention to Drew Peterson’s actions before Kathleen Savio’s body was found.
“If we could look at the defendant’s behavior from the point of time he committed the murder in the early hours of Sunday morning,” Glasgow said.
On Sunday night, when he first tried to return the children to their mother at her home, “he's got a situation where his wife, who was always there, isn't answering,” Glasgow said. “And he's got Mary Pontarelli, who's 35 feet away, and he doesn't reach out to her? He doesn't reach out to her because he knows what's in there.”
2:55 p.m. Glasgow addresses time of death
State’s Attorney James Glasgow said Dr. Mary Case, the neuropathologist, was “unwavering” in her opinion that a fall in that bathtub would not have been enough force to render her unconscious.
The bruises and abrasions, the blood on her diaphragm, none of it could have been caused by a fall in the tub, he said.
As for when she was killed, Glasgow that the extent of rigor mortis showed Savio died 36 to 48 hours before her discovery -- a time frame that includes the period of time Stacy Peterson said she found Drew Peterson missing from their home.
2:50 p.m. Glasgow responds to forensic experts
During the sidebar, State’s Attorney James Glasgow said he would pursue a different line of argument, and the jury was brought back into the courtroom.
Glasgow continued, not with an impassioned, emotional argument, but rather a point-by-point rebuttal of the defense's forensic experts.
“You heard Mr. Lopez tell you that he found the manner of death was accident,” Glasgow said. “That's not true.”
When Glasgow explained that the initial autopsy report by Dr. Bryan Mitchell determined only the cause of death was drowning, but did not rule on whether it was a homicide, the defense objected that the autopsy was not admitted to evidence.
Judge Edward Burmila sustained the objection.
Glasgow turned to the tub, saying the defense experts are wrong when they say Kathleen Savio could have fallen with enough force to knock herself unconscious.
“You saw the tub in this case. It’s 40 inches long and 22 inches wide,” he said. “Use your common experiences in everyday life — with a 44-inch tub and a 5-foot, 5-inch tall woman.”
Savio, he said, was a healthy woman at the time of her death, who was not under the influence of drugs or alcohol according to the multiple autopsies which found no trace of medication or illicit substances.
The defense experts, when confronted with evidence of injury that doesn't fit the defense theory of a slip-and-fall, simply explain the apparent injury as an “artifact,” or product of either the handling of the body or the byproduct of decomposition, Glasgow said.
“They can't explain the abrasion on the buttocks, it's gone,” he said, snapping his finger. “It's an artifact.”
2:35 p.m. Rebuttal halted; jury sent out
James Glasgow opened by countering:
“All you heard during the defense closing was that his was a slip and fall accident,” Glasgow said. “But you know much better than that.”
Glasgow brought out the certified copy of Kathleen Savio's death certificate.
“All this is is a statistical...”
“Objection,” defense attorney Joel Brodsky shouted.
“That objection will be sustained,” Burmila said.
Glasgow began again.
“If this piece of paper stood for what the defense says it does...”
The judge then sent the jury out of the courtroom. Glasgow was less than two minutes into his argument.
2:30 p.m. Prosecution begins its rebuttal
“Ladies and gentleman, before we start, I just want to remind everyone that this trial is about Kathleen Savio,” Will County State's Attorney James Glasgow said as he began his rebuttal argument. “A young lady, vibrant, murdered in the prime of her life.”
The judge has given Glasgow one hour and 10 minutes for his rebuttal.
2:15 p.m. 'What would Lopez say?'
Joe Lopez told jurors to think “What would Lopez say?” after State’s Attorney James Glasgow gives his rebuttal.
Lopez then ended his closing argument by showing a cartoon picture of the Cheshire Cat from “Alice in Wonderland.”
“I want you to think of that when you look at that guilty verdict” he said, referring to what he described as the smiling smug demeanor of Kathleen Savio’s divorce attorney Harry Smith on the stand, who Lopez had said earlier was laughing at the state’s case.
2:05 p.m. 'You can hate him'
As Joe Lopez wrapped up, he reminded jurors that they need remember they have the responsibility to judge Peterson based on the evidence, not their personal feelings about him.
“You don't have to like him. You can hate him. You have to like America more than anything.
“I said it before and I'll say it again: the framers of the constitution would barf on this evidence.
“Presidents have gone on TV and lied to the public, pastors have done it,” Lopez said. “People lie. That's why you have to look at the physical evidence.”
Lopez is now finished. The judge is giving jurors a short break before the prosecution rebuttal.
2 p.m. Lopez criticizes pastor, divorce attorney
Joe Lopez turned his attention to pastor Neil Schori, who told the jury Stacy Peterson said Drew Peterson coached her to lie about his whereabouts.
“He was put in a weird position,” Lopez said. “He had to bring a chaperone. Something's going on that no one's telling us about.
“Objection,” Will County State's Attorney James Glasgow said.
“Sustained — the jury will disregard that comment,” Burmila said.
Undeterred, Lopez continued to mock Schori's testimony.
“Starbucks. The church of the moment, where he has his clients come so they can cry in front of everyone.”
Then he turned his criticism to Kathleen Savio's divorce attorney, who testified that Stacy asked if she could help her intention to divorce Peterson if she threatened to tell police how Peterson killed Savio.
“(Smith) comes in here grinning like a Cheshire Cat, laughing,” Lopez said. “Then, during a break, he's sitting there talking to the water pitcher, like it's Wilson from the movie. Laughing, laughing at the state's case, just laughing.”
1:50 p.m. 'All the rats come out of the woodpile'
As Joe Lopez began addressing the testimony of Mary Parks, who was a classmate of Kathleen Savio's at Joliet Junior College, Parks entered the overflow room to listen.
Lopez said Parks was untrustworthy and lied about Savio's alleged statements to her that Drew Peterson attacked and threatened to kill Savio.
“You know what they say? When something like this happens, all the rats come out of the woodpile,” Lopez said.
At that, Parks laughed and stood up to leave the overflow room, offering a whispered apology to the sheriff's deputy at the door.
“Sorry,” she said. “He was talking about me.”
1:30 p.m. Savio lied about Peterson, Lopez says
Joe Lopez told jurors the only thing every pathologistin the case agreed with was that they have no way to say exactly when Kathleen Savio was bruised.
“As much as they want to agree and disagree with one another, they all agree about one thing, and that is that you can't date a bruise,” Lopez said. “Nobody know the ages of the bruises in this case, and nobody knows what caused the bruise. They are speculating as to the cause, and that's because it's not a homicide, it's an accident.”
Lopez also said one of the most telling signs that Savio lied about Drew Peterson's threats to kill her that she never told either her best friend and neighbor, Mary Pontarelli, or her boyfriend Steve Maniaci.
“Steve loved her; he adored her, and she never once told him about this,” Lopez said. “You know why? Because it never happened.”
1:10 p.m. Cut was 'as big as the Grand Canyon'
Joe Lopez derided the state experts who opined that the force needed to cause the 1.5 inch laceration to the back of Kathleen Savio's head would not have been enough to knock her out.
“Look at the gash in the back of her head — it's a big as the Grand Canyon,” he shouted. “You could stick your fist in there! Don't you think that could have knocked her out?”
His hyperbole elicited groans from the gallery in the overflow room.
Lopez said the bottom line is that the hearsay testimony is meaningless if the state can't even prove her death was not an accident.
“You know what, if they can't prove it's a homicide, who cares what (Pastor Neil) Schori says, who cares what (divorce attorney Harry) Smith says, who cares what Anna Doman says? It's gotta be a homicide, and they can't prove it.”
1 p.m. Sister made up testimony, Lopez says
At the coroner's inquest after Dr. Bryan Mitchell's autopsy, Kathleen Savio's sister Sue Doman made no mention of the alleged threats Drew Peterson made to kill Savio and make it appear accidental, defense attorney Joe Lopez said.
“What do you think about that?” Lopez asked jurors. “Wouldn’t that be the first thing out your mouth? 'He killed my sister, how could you rule it’s an accident?' (But) she said nothing. You know why? Because she made it up later.”
Further, the state police never questioned Peterson about whether he murdered Savio.
“They never asked him, 'Hey, did you kill your wife?' No, they never asked him. And you want to know why? It's because they knew it was an accident.”
Lopez moved again to the initial autopsy performed by Mitchell in 2004, saying that they found no evidence of injury to the diaphragm — a finding later disputed by Dr. Michael Baden.
“Even their own experts, I told you before, can't agree whether the glass is half empty or half full,” Lopez said. “That's reasonable doubt.... Their own experts can't agree.”
12:45 p.m. 'It's an accident'
Joe Lopez urged the jury not to put too much stock in the statistic that only 1.6 people per million drown in a bathtub.
“It's a 1.6 in 1 million people. You know what, people win the lottery with worse odds than that. It happens.”
He hammered on the fact that the state police investigators and the deputy coroner all agreed that her death appeared accidental and there was no sign of foul play or forced entry at the home.
“Everybody that was there classified it as an accident, except the state wants you to classify it as a murder. It isn't -- it's an accident.”
12:40 p.m. 'They are trying to nail Jell-O to a tree'
Joe Lopez said Drew Peterson's first response to learning of Kathleen Savio’s death is telling.
“'What am I going to tell my children,'“ Lopez said. “Those are the first words out of his mouth.
“They (the state) are trying to nail Jell-O to a tree. It's an accident.”
As for the blue towel that was not seen by the first people to enter the bathroom but is seen in crime scene photos, “It's a fallacy,” Lopez said. “The state presented it in order to divert your attention for the original issue, that Kathy's death was an accident.”
When Drew left the upstairs, “the towel wasn't there. The last time anybody saw Drew Peterson upstairs, the towel wasn't there.”
12:35 p.m. Lopez dismisses financial motive
As for a financial motive, defense attorney Joe Lopez said there “there wasn't even a determination that she was going to get the pension!”
Lopez began reading from the divorce record showing Drew Peterson agreed to allow Kathleen Savio to potentially claim a larger share of his pension, prompting an objection from the state.
Judge Edward Burmila ordered the jury out of the courtroom, and the state complained the document Lopez was using was not admitted to evidence.
Lopez argued it was agreed to under a stipulation, and that he should be able to refer to it in argument.
“I'm not asking that it go back to the jury, I'm only asking to refresh the jury's memory about it,” he said.
Burmila said he could refer to testimony about the document, but sustained the state's objection about the use of the document.
12:30 p.m. Savio home was peaceful, quiet
Drew Peterson attorney Joe Lopez said in the close-knit neighborhood where Kathleen Savio lived, it is unlikely that a life-and-death struggle would have gone unnoticed on Saturday night or early Sunday morning, the time prosecutors have implied that Savio was murdered.
“Nobody hears anything coming out of that house,” Lopez said. “There's no dogs barking, no doors slamming. It's peaceful and it's quiet.”
12:20 p.m. Lopez: Peterson has nothing to hide
Defense lawyer Joe Lopez said Stacy Peterson offered nothing to incriminate Drew Peterson in her interview with state police.
“What did she tell them?” Lopez said. “All you heard about was that they had bacon and eggs for breakfast.”
As for Kathleen Savio’s divorce attorney, Harry Smith, Lopez said they put him on the witness stand because Peterson has nothing to hide.
“We didn't hide him from you. Did he say some things that hurt us? Yes. But he also said some things that helped us. But the important thing to remember is we didn't hide him from you.”
12:10 p.m. 'They've proved it was an accident'
Defense attorney Joe Lopez told the jury Kathleen Savio’s death was an accident.
“Kathy's death was already ruled an accident” by Dr. Bryan Mitchell, now deceased, Lopez said, drawing an objection from the state.
Burmila overruled the objection, and Lopez moved on to her death certificate, showing that it still classifies her death as an accident.
The state, he said, can't even say when Savio died. “Was it light out? Was it dark? Were the dogs barking?” he said. “Did it happen after 2 o'clock...Did it happen Monday morning? When did it happen?
“Proof beyond reasonable doubt is the standard. They've proved it was an accident all right, that's what they proved.”
12:05 p.m. Hearsay called dangerous
Defense attorney Joe Lopez shifted focus to hearsay evidence.
“You hear about hearsay, rumor and innuendo, water cooler talk,” Lopez said. “You don't have to believe any of it.... Just because someone says something doesn't make it so.”
Lopez then honed in on the fact that the divorce was the backdrop of the trial.
“People will say things to get an advantage. They'll blow their horn, and blow it and blow it until someone sympathizes with them.
“But you know what? The state hasn't proved anything beyond reasonable doubt — this case is riddled with doubt like Swiss cheese. You might as well get out a Ouija board to determine what happened.”
Lopez then attacked the hearsay law.
“You know, sometimes people go fishing, and they catch a trout and tell their friends,” Lopez said. “Before you know it, it's a 10-pound fish instead of a 2-pound fish.”
Hearsay evidence requires that jurors judge the credibility of a witness who testifies about what another person said, and hope that witness didn't put his or her own spin on what was allegedly said.
“It's dangerous,” he said.
11: 55 a.m. State's theory called laughable
Defense attorney Joe Lopez derided the state's theory as laughable.
“'Oh, excuse me, Kathleen. Can you fall in the bathtub so I can strangle you and hit you in the back of the head,'“ Lopez said. “The state has no evidence.”
“You don't have to like Sgt. Peterson at all. You know what you have to like? That flag. You have to like America. You have to like the Constitution...You have to like the principles that we live by in this country.”
11:53 a.m. Trial is like football, Lopez says
Defense attorney Joe Lopez likened a trial to a football game, in which there are rules both teams have to play by, and he got in an early dig at the state.
“And you know, the state violated the rules a couple of times — the judge gave you cautionary instructions, and things like that happen sometimes.”
11:50 a.m. 'Sgt. Peterson is presumed innocent'
Defense attorney Joe Lopez started out softly, saying how jury service is unique, throwing people from diverse backgrounds together who sometimes form lasting friendships as a result of their service.
He then turned to the merits of the U.S. criminal justice system.
“It's the only place in the world, were you have the people decide your fate,” he said. “You took an oath -- it's like being in the Army. You violate your oath, it's like going AWOL.”
Lopez reminded jurors that they took an oath to hold the state to the standard of beyond reasonable doubt, to not hold it against the defendant for not testifying, and to follow the instructions of the court as they deliberate.
“As we sit here today, and you're listening to my mumbo jumbo, you have to have this little voice in your head reminding you that Sgt. (Drew) Peterson is presumed innocent.”
11:45 a.m. Defense begins its closing argument
The jury is back in the courtroom and defense attorney Joseph Lopez has begun his closing argument.
11:35 a.m. Sisters of Stacy Peterson, Savio in court
Five Illinois State Police officers who worked on the Kathleen Savio investigation, Stacy Peterson's sister Cassandra Cales and members of Savio's family including her sisters Susan Doman and Anna Marie Doman are in the courtroom for closing arguments today.
11:30 a.m. Little reaction from Peterson
Assistant State’s Attorney Chris Koch turned and pointed directly at Drew Peterson at least seven times during his closing argument. Peterson showed no reaction at the defense table, watching jurors closely, taking some notes and whispering to his lawyers.
Jurors occasionally took notes during the 70-minute argument.
11:25 a.m. Prosecution ends closing argument
Prosecutor Chris Koch ended his 70-minute argument.
“Taking all of that information together and drawing reasonable inference from them... we have proved to you beyond a reasonable doubt that he entered that home with the intent to kill her, that he forced her down, that he held her under water to cause her to drown, and she died, and because of that, ladies and gentleman, we are asking you to find him guilty.”
Following Koch's argument, Judge Edward Burmila gave a brief break to the jury.
11:20 a.m. Closing shifts to Stacy Peterson
The medical evidence about Kathleen Savio’s injuries, her statements about Drew Peterson's threats, and Peterson’s own statements to police and others about her death and his monetary gain, all point to the fact that “he went into that house, and forcibly held her down so that she could inhale fluid so that she could drown.”
With that, Koch turned his focus to Stacy Peterson and her statements to her pastor, Neil Schori.
“She said that she had something to talk about regarding the evening that Kathy died,” Koch said.
“Stacy woke to find her husband missing, and could not reach him by phone, only to later find him placing his clothes and clothes from a bag in the washing machine,” Koch said. “They were women's clothes, and they weren't hers.
“The defendant said soon the police would be wanting to sit down and interview her, and he told her what to say to the police.
“So not only to you have all that other evidence...you have his wife, who tells Neil Schori about the defendant coming home with these clothes in a bag.”
A few months later, Stacy Peterson contacted Savio's divorce attorney, Harry Smith, and asked if she could use her knowledge of Peterson's murder of Savio in her own divorce case, Koch said.
“It wasn't if she had information, it wasn't I might have information, it was I have information about how he killed Kathy,” Koch said. “How.”
11:15 a.m. Jury reminded of sisters' testimony
Anna Doman told the jury that six weeks before her death, Kathleen Savio told her sister that Drew Peterson said he was going to kill her, that she wasn't going to make it to the divorce, get the kids or his pension, and that he could make her death look like an accident.
Savio's other sister, Sue Doman, said the alleged victim told her substantially the same thing, as did Kristin Anderson — who's family lived with Savio briefly in 2003 — and Mary Parks, who attended nursing school with Savio.
“This isn't one person. This is multiple people coming in here saying Savio said, 'He told me he would kill me and make it look like an accident,’” Koch said, again appealing to the jurors to use their common sense.
11:10 a.m. Defense raising objections
The defense team has raised numerous objections during the prosecution’s closing argument, but Judge Edward Burmila has denied all but two of them, saying that the jury heard the evidence and can judge whether the state's arguments are consistent with the facts.
11:05 a.m. Motive was money, prosecutor says
Prosecutor Chris Koch said jurors should use the testimony about Drew Peterson holding Kathleen Savio captive in her home in July 2002 to show that he intended to prevent her from getting any of his money in the divorce.
“The motive is clear — 'I don't want to pay you anything.' The intent is clear — he had a knife to her throat.”
Jurors should treat the testimony of Jeffrey Pachter the same way, Koch said.
Pachter, who testified that Peterson offered him $25,000 to find a hit man to “take care” of Savio, said Peterson told him later not to worry about it because Savio was dead.
Koch said jurors can look at other testimony to find that Pachter was telling the truth, such as the fact that Pachter said Peterson told him Savio worked at Red Lobster, something other witnesses corroborated.
Kock argued that Pachter's knowledge of where Savio worked shows the witness was also telling the truth about Peterson's offer to pay for a hit.
11 a.m. Peterson coached Stacy, Koch argues
When Illinois State Police Investigators Patrick Collins and Bryan Falat interviewed Stacy Peterson, “the testimony was that Stacy was real shaken by the event, and that's why (Drew Peterson) wanted some professional courtesy,” Koch said.
“There's four chairs down there, and Drew sat next to her with his arm around her. At one point he helped her out with what they had for breakfast,” Koch said. “Too bad Collins and Falat didn't know that Drew Peterson had spent hours and hours telling Stacy what to say in that interview.”
10:55 a.m. 'Why would anyone think he did it?'
Prosecutor Chris Koch said during Drew Peterson's first phone call minutes after finding Kathleen Savio's body he said, “I just found my wife in the bathtub and they're going to think I did it.”
“Why are they going to think he did it? Isn't their relationship going good, aren't things fantastic as they go on with their lives? Why would anyone think he did it?” Koch said.
And then, the following day, Peterson frantically went through the home while Savio's relatives were there, saying he needed to get things for his kids.
But Anna Doman, Savio's sister, testified that she found him in the bathroom, Koch said.
“By God, he was cleaning the bathtub,” Koch said. “What in the world was he cleaning the bathtub for? He said it was so the kids wouldn't see it. But the kids weren't there. Why clean the bathtub? You know what, murderers sometimes go back to the scene to make sure they got it right.”
10:50 a.m. 'He knows what they found in that tub'
Assistant State’s Attorney Chris Koch argued that Drew Peterson is trying to have it both ways by saying on separate occasions that his relationship with Kathleen Savio was fine, but that he didn't want to enter her home because he feared she would accuse him of stealing from her.
He also questioned why Peterson, who was on duty as the Bolingbrook police watch commander, didn't call for back-up from his own department before entering the home.
When he goes upstairs in the pitch-black home after hearing Mary Pontarelli scream, “he doesn't have his gun drawn, he doesn't have his flashlight out,” Koch said. “Why? Because he killed her, he knows what they found in that tub.”
10:45 a.m. Closing moves to family, friends
Prosecutor Chris Koch transitioned away from medical experts to Kathleen Savio's friends and neighbors.
First, he reminded jurors that Steve Maniaci, Savio's boyfriend, saw her on Friday night and stayed over until Saturday morning.
“No abrasions, no bruising, no rough sex,” Koch said. “They had sexual intercourse, and then they went to bed.”
Then Mary Pontarelli and her family, who were Savio's next door neighbors, saw her on Saturday afternoon, and saw the bathroom light on at midnight and 2 a.m., Koch said.
On Sunday, the Pontarellis can't reach her, but “it's not until Monday night that the defendant reaches (Mary Pontarelli) and they decide to go into the house.”
10:40 a.m. Koch: Pathologist undercut own theory
Prosecutor Chris Koch continued with his closing argument, saying that defense forensic pathologist Dr. Jeffrey Jentzen's theory that Kathleen Savio's injuries could have been caused by a fall was undercut by his own admission that the normal mechanics of a fall would not have been possible in the tiny bathtub in which she was found.
“How are you going to get airborne in a tub that's only 40 inches, but I guess she was airborne and twisting so that she could hit her head,” Koch said. “Use your common sense, ladies and gentleman.”
10:30 a.m. 'Her opinion stands for the truth'
Prosecutor Chris Koch reminded the jury that one of the state's forensic pathologists, Dr. Mary Case, is an expert in brain injury and determined that the wound to the back of Kathleen Savio's head was not sufficient to knock her unconscious.
“Her opinion stands for the truth in this case that that force was not enough to cause brain trauma,” Koch said.
Dr. Michael Baden found that the injury to Savio's diaphragm could have been caused by a strong blow or a very strong bear hug.
Koch mocked the defense assertion that there was no mark of injury to victim's body near the diaphragm so there could not have been any injury to the muscle that controls breathing.
“What did he (Drew Peterson) bring home?” Koch said, his voice rising. “Women's clothes — he brought them home that night and put them in the washing machine with his own black clothes that he had on. That we know from Stacy Peterson.”
10:25 a.m. Defense pathologist criticized
The injuries to Kathleen Savio’s body were also a sign that her death could not have been accidental, because there were injuries to all sides of her body, prosecutor Chris Koch told the jury.
“How can you get that in one fall?” Koch asked. “You can't do it -- it's impossible.”
Koch attacked the defense pathologist, Dr. Vincent DiMaio, who said that the abrasion on Savio’s buttock was not in fact an abrasion, but rather dry skin.
Koch focused on DiMaio's admission that if it was an abrasion, it could not have happened in the tub, using DiMaio's testimony to bolster the state's contention that Savio was attacked and rendered unconscious before she was placed in the bathtub.
10:20 a.m. Jury told to use common sense
Prosecutor Chris Koch first focused on the cause of death and manner of Kathleen Savio’s death, saying that “everyone has agreed that the cause was drowning.
“The issue becomes, did she drown at the hands of the defendant, and the answer is yes,” Koch said.
Dr. Larry Blum, who performed the 2007 autopsy after Savio’s body was exhumed, concluded she was not under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and didn't have any history of illness that contributed to her death.
That, Koch argued, led Blum to look at her body, especially how her toes were jammed against the edge of the tub.
“You don't leave your common sense outside when you come into this courtroom,” Koch said, noting that Blum found her position could not have been the result of an accidental fall.
Koch has said “common sense” more than a half-dozen times in the first few minutes of his closing, indicating that the state is going to emphasize that jurors use their life experience and understanding to sift through the highly circumstantial case.
10:15 a.m. 'This man killed Kathleen Savio'
Judge Edward Burmila told jurors that closing arguments are not evidence but are to be based on the evidence and should be judged against the evidence.
Assistant State’s Attorney Chris Koch then began closing statement.
“I'm going to kill you, you are not going to make it to the divorce settlement. You're not going to get the pensions, you're not going to get the kids. That is the statement the defendant made to the victim weeks before her death. And you know what, ladies and gentlemen, that threat became reality.”
The first objection from the defense came just 30 seconds into the state's closing, when attorney Steven Greenberg asked that prosecutors not be allowed to display a photo of Kathleen Savio on the screen during their argument.
The judge sustained, and Koch moved on, reminding jurors that they must use their common sense in judging the evidence, and if they do, they will find that “this man killed Kathleen Savio.”
10:10 a.m. Jurors in the courtroom
Nick Pontarelli, Kathleen Savio's neighbor who testified that she was like a second mother to him, just took a seat in the media overflow room to hear the closing arguments.
Jurors have just entered the courtroom.
10 a.m. Brodsky asks judge to warn gallery
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.
"All I know is this — I'm going to do the best I can," he said. "It's not going to be like any lawyer you've seen before. I break every rule in the book."
Prosecutors haven't yet explicitly presented their theory of the case — that Peterson put Savio in a police chokehold until she passed out and then drowned her in her bathtub. Will County Judge Edward Burmila repeatedly prevented the jury from hearing some testimony supporting that claim, ruling that the prosecution had not introduced any evidence proving Peterson was at the death scene.
The state indicated last week that it would make those same inferences during closing arguments, despite assured objections from Peterson's attorneys.
"What inferences they draw from evidence remains to be seen, and I'm not going to put any restrictions," Burmila said Friday. "Defense can object at the time."
Experts say prosecutors must tread carefully in this area, both to avoid a major misstep and prevent Peterson's attorneys from disrupting their rhythm with a barrage of objections. The prosecution survived a near mistrial during opening statements when Glasgow mentioned a topic that had not yet been admitted by the court.
"They're walking a very fine line, especially with a judge that has been relatively hostile to them," said criminal defense lawyer Andrew St. Laurent, a partner with Harris, O'Brien, St. Laurent & Houghteling in New York. "The defense has done an excellent job of objecting to testimony and disrupting the prosecution's case during this trial. If you're the prosecution, you don't want to give them a chance to take away the drama of a closing argument."
Lopez's closing argument is expected to hit what has been a consistent theme for defense attorneys since Peterson was charged in 2009 — that Savio's death was an accident.
No physical evidence ties Peterson to Savio's death, and prosecutors have built a circumstantial case that relies heavily on hearsay statements. But Lopez may find himself needing to combat a witness called by his fellow defense attorney Joel Brodsky.
Savio's divorce attorney Harry Smith last week testified that Stacy Petersoncalled and asked him if she could use the fact that Drew Peterson killed Savio to her advantage in a potential divorce.
Even Burmila has remarked on the oddity.
"I will say that I think it's unusual that ... the information of how (Peterson) killed (Savio) came from the (second to) last witness called in the case by the defendant," he said in court Friday.
Jurors did not hear that Stacy Peterson vanished about four days after the conversation with Smith. Drew Peterson has not been charged in her disappearance, but prosecutors believe he killed her.
Assistant State's Attorney Chris Koch will give the state's closing argument with State's Attorney James Glasgow providing the final words rebutting Lopez's comments to jurors.
They declined to comment.
"Chris Koch, he knows what he's doing. And Jim Glasgow, he ain't no idiot. So we got an uphill battle, no question about it," Lopez said. "This case is far from being in the bag. We're going to do the best we can, win or lose."
"It's going to be one for the books," Brodsky said. "You are not going to want to miss it, I can promise you. Front row and center is where you want to be if possible."
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