By Matthew Walberg, Steve Schmadeke and Andy Grimm
7:23 PM EDT, August 8, 2012
Continual coverage of the trial of Drew Peterson for the murder of his third wife, Kathleen Savio.
6 p.m. Testimony concludes until Thursday
Testimony has wrapped up for the day. Outside the courtroom, State’s Attorney James Glasgow praised the hearsay ruling by Judge Edward Burmila, calling it historic and a crossroads in the trial. But he also acknowledged there is a long way to go. "This is a marathon and not a sprint," he said.
Defense attorney Joe Lopez downplayed the importance of the ruling. "We knew it was coming," he said.
4:40 p.m. Savio kept knife under mattress
Kristin Anderson returned to the stand and resumed testifying, telling the jury about a conversation she had in Kathleen Savio’s bedroom about Drew Peterson.
She said Savio told her that "Drew had broken in to her house dressed in a SWAT uniform, held a knife to her throat and told her, 'I could kill you and make it look like an accident.'"
Savio also showed her a knife she kept "between the mattresses" of her bed for protection, Anderson testified.
4:30 p.m. Witness breaks down on the stand
Judge Edward Burmila asked that the jury be removed after Kristin Anderson broke into tears just before she was going to testify to a hearsay statement from Kathleen Savio.
She broke down, putting her hands over her chest, after Glasgow asked her what Savio had told her in October 2003 in Savio’s Bolingbrook bedroom.
A deputy handed her tissues and Anderson began sobbing as she left the courtroom to compose herself.
Anderson is expected to testify that Savio told her Drew Peterson could kill Savio and make it look like an accident.
4:15 p.m. Hearsay ruling could help state's case
Prosecutors view the judge's most recent ruling as a key development in the case, opening up hearsay statements that previously were banned. Judge Edward Burmila could still prohibit the hearsay statements from being heard by jurors as prosecutors attempt to admit them.
Kristin Anderson, whose testimony was previously barred by the prior judge hearing the case, is now taking the stand and being questioned by Glasgow. She testified at a hearing in 2010 that Kathleen Savio told her that Drew Peterson said he could kill Savio and make it look like an accident.
4 p.m. 'Critical' ruling in Peterson case
In a ruling that State’s Attorney James Glasgow said would be "critical" to the Drew Peterson case, Judge Edward Burmila said he is not bound at all by a prior judge’s rulings on what hearsay statements can be heard by jurors.
The ruling, following a shouted argument by Glasgow, opens the door to more than a dozen hearsay statements previously barred by the prior judge, Stephen White.
Burmila will now rule on each of the statements individually as prosecutors seek to admit them.
3:10 p.m. 'I could kill you'
Patrick Collins has finished testifying and prosecutors are now asking Judge Edward Burmila to allow them to call Kristin Anderson, whose family lived for a time in Kathleen Savio’s basement.
State’s Attorney James Glasgow said Anderson would testify that Savio told her Drew Peterson said, "I could kill you and make it look like an accident."
2:20 p.m. Stacy Petersonshaken by Savio's death
Drew Peterson said his wife, Stacy, was especially shaken by Kathleen Savio's death because Stacy had a newborn and new responsibilities for Savio's children, state police Sgt. Patrick Collins testified.
1:40 p.m. Trial resumes
Court is back in session with continued cross-examination of retired state police Sgt. Patrick Collins by Drew Peterson attorney Joel Brodsky.
12:05 p.m. Lunch break
Defense attorney Joel Brodsky tried to establish retired state police Sgt. Patrick Collins' expertise during cross-examination, and that Collins saw no sign of a struggle at the scene of Kathleen Savio's death.
Judge Edward Burmila has stopped the trial for a lunch break. Testimony is expected to resume about 1:15 p.m.
11:30 a.m. Brodsky to question officer
After a break, court is back in session with Peterson attorney Joel Brodsky set to cross-examine retired state police Sgt. Patrick Collins.
11 a.m. Drew coached Stacy through interview
Retired Illinois State Police Sgt. Patrick Collins said that when he and Trooper Brian Falat arrived at Drew Peterson's home to interview Stacy Peterson about Kathleen Savio’s death, the defendant asked to be allowed to sit in with them.
"On our way to the basement, Drew asked me personally, he said Stacy was real shaken, still real nervous about the event that had occurred and asked me if he could sit in on the interview — some professional courtesy," Collins said. He added that he had never before allowed a suspect to sit in on the interview of a witness.
During the interview, Drew Peterson sat "very close" to Stacy Peterson, and at one point coached her through her answer about what she did the Saturday before Savio was discovered, Collins testified.
"There was one particular question where he did have to refresh her memory," Collins recalled. "He leaned over to Stacy and said, 'You remember what you cooked for breakfast.' He said, 'bacon' or 'sausage' and that was it."
10:30 a.m. Officer recounts interview with Peterson
Retired Illinois State Police Sgt. Patrick Collins testified that when he interviewed Drew Peterson about Kathleen Savio's death and asked if he would realize any financial benefit from her death, Peterson said they shared ownership of Savio's home, valued at $300,000.
"At that time he stated, 'Oh, I guess now I'll get the whole value of the house,’" Collins said.
Collins also said that when asked about his relationship with Savio at the time of her death, Peterson said it "was going pretty good."
10:05 a.m. Cop, coroner, Savio friends to testify
Retired Illinois State Police Sgt. Patrick Collins is the first witness on the stand today. Other witnesses scheduled to testify for the prosecution today include Will County Coroner Patrick O’Neil, Kathleen Savio’s friend Kristin Anderson and Savio’s Joliet Junior College classmate Mary Parks.
Parks testified at a pretrial hearing that Savio told her that Drew Peterson "could kill her and no one would know" and that Peterson entered Savio's home, pinned her down by her throat and asked, "Why don't you just die?"
Anderson has also previously testified that Savio told her she feared Peterson would kill her.
Collins worked the scene of Savio's death with former state police investigator Robert Deel in 2004.
Collins testified during a 2010 hearing that Deel told him Savio’s death was an accident.
"I relied on that particular night and case very heavily on investigator Deel because that was my first homicide," Collins testified in 2010. "I did ask him should we collect anything. He basically informed me that it appeared to be accidental."
9:50 a.m. Peterson asks to confer with attorneys
Before the first witness of the day, Illinois state police investigator Patrick Collins, took the stand, defense attorney Joel Brodsky asked the judge to give Peterson a few minutes to confer with all of his attorneys.
"It's difficult for him to meet with us all when he's at the jail, so he asks that he could have a few minutes to meet with us all," Brodsky said. "I guess he has something to tell us before the witness is called."
9:40 a.m. Judge won't strike cop's testimony
The trial resumed this morning with Judge Edward Burmila's ruling that prosecutors did err by withholding information about Bolingbrook Police Lt. James Coughlin's testimony Tuesday.
Burmila denied the request to strike the testimony or admonish the state in front of the jury but will allow the defense to call the FBIagent who took the statement in question from Coughlin.
Coughlin testified Tuesday that he bumped into Drew Peterson in February 2004, and Peterson told him his life would be easier if Kathleen Savio was dead.
An FBI report noted that Coughlin told federal agents he saw Peterson in court before the alleged conversation. The defense seized on the FBI report, showing other court records that proved Peterson did not appear in court as part of his divorce proceedings in February 2004.
But Coughlin testified he told prosecutors that the FBI account was inaccurate, something the state never shared with the defense.
Peterson attorney Lisa Lopez said the failure of the state to reveal Coughlin's statement about the inaccuracy is a violation of basic pre-trial rules.
"It doesn't matter if it was willful or inadvertent - we know they knew (about Coughlin's statement) and they withheld it from us," she said. She asked that the judge strike Coughlin's testimony and strongly admonish prosecutors in the presence of the jury.
Assistant State's Attorney Chris Koch denied that the state withheld Coughlin's recantation from the defense, saying that the defense has known about the differences between Coughlin's testimony and the FBI report and had many opportunities to cross examine him about it in prior hearings.
9 a.m. Defense awaits ruling on striking testimony
Entering the courthouse this morning, Peterson attorney Steven Greenberg downplayed the impact of Tuesday's testimony by Bolingbrook police Lt. James Coughlin.
Coughlin testified that he bumped into Peterson at the Will County Courthouse and the two talked about his divorce from Kathleen Savio. Peterson said, "My life would be easier if she was dead — or died, I don't recall which word," Coughlin testified.
The conversation stuck with him, Coughlin testified, because Savio was found dead in her bathtub just weeks later.
The defense objected to the testimony, and Judge Edward Burmila is to rule today on whether to strike the statements.
"This man (Coughlin) didn't come forward until 2008," Greenberg said. "Why people come forward for their 15 minutes of fame, I don't know but that's what happened."
Greenberg also said prosecutors have done little to prove that state police investigator Robert Deel botched the initial investigation. Deel concluded at the time that Savio had slipped and fallen in the tub.
"The investigation was properly done," Greenberg said. "Even if you assume there were problems with the investigation, has that led to one shred of evidence against Drew? No."
6:45 a.m. Lead investigator to take the stand
The man who led the investigation into the death of Drew Peterson's third wife is expected to testify today as the former police officer's murder trial enters its sixth day.
Retired Illinois State Police Sgt. Patrick Collins is expected to take the stand as prosecutors attempt to show the investigation he led after Kathleen Savio was found dead in her bathtub in 2004 was botched.
At a hearsay hearing in 2010, Collins said he believed Savio's death was an accident from almost the minute he stepped into her home.
He failed to collect forensic evidence, interview Savio's relatives or secure the suburban Chicago house where her body was found.
Peterson was only charged in Savio's death after his fourth wife, Stacy Peterson, disappeared in 2007. He's denied any wrongdoing.
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