Patrick Collins

Retired Illinois State Police Sgt. Patrick Collins leaves the Will County Courthouse after testifying in the murder trial of Drew Peterson. (Terrence Antonio James, Chicago Tribune / August 8, 2012)




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.