By Chuck Berman and Stacy St. Clair
1:53 PM EDT, March 18, 2013
Drew Peterson's son deserved to lose his police badge for his actions following the 2007 disappearance of Peterson's young wife, a DuPage County judge ruled this morning.
Stephen Peterson, 33, was fired from the Oak Brook Police Department in 2011 after officials ruled that he delivered contradictory testimony, failed to disclose information and demonstrated poor judgment during an Illinois State Police investigation into the vanishing of Stacy Peterson, his father’s fourth wife.
The village police and fire commission also said Stephen Peterson took three weapons from his father to prevent them from being seized when law enforcement agents searched Drew Peterson's Bolingbrook home. Drew Peterson was charged with owning an assault rifle with an illegal short barrel, but the case was later dismissed.
Judge Terence M. Sheen upheld the commission's decision in a written ruling released this morning.
Stephen Peterson, who had his young daughter with him at the Wheaton courthouse for the brief hearing, showed no visible reaction to the ruling. He is expected to appeal the decision, as he has long maintained that he was helping his father and his actions had nothing to do with his duties as an Oak Brook Police officer.
He has 30 days to appeal the decision to a higher court.
"We haven't decided yet, but we are definitely going to have a discussion about it," his attorney Tamara Cummings said. "It's very like we will appeal."
In July 2012, Stephen Peterson also filed a $10 million federal lawsuit against the Oak Brook Police Department over his termination.
Since his father's arrest five years ago, Stephen Peterson has been raising his four younger siblings in Drew Peterson's Bolingbrook home. His two oldest half-brothers are now in college, the two younger half-siblings are still in grade school.
The family's primary source of income is Drew Peterson's $79,000 pension from his nearly 30 years with the Bolingbrook Police Department. Village officials, however, are examining whether to strip him of his retirement following his felony murder conviction.
A Will County jury last year found Peterson guilty of drowning his third wife, Kathleen Savio, in 2004. He has not been charged in Stacy's disappearance, though he remains the only suspect.
Drew Peterson was sentenced to 34 years in prison last month. He will not be eligible for parole until he is 93.
Before receiving his punishment, he ranted for nearly 40 minutes against the people he believes have done him and his family wrong, including Oak Brook officials.
"(My son) lost his job when I was illegally charged with an illegal weapons charge," Peterson said. "He got tied up in it and without cause he lost his job and he lost his income."
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