Appellate court rules in prosecutors' favor in Peterson case

It is a major setback to the Drew Peterson defense team-- an appeals court ruling today that so-called ‘hearsay evidence’ can be used by prosecutors preparing to try the former Bolingbrook cop for the murder of his third wife.

What the ruling refers to, hearsay-- things the alleged victims reportedly said before they died-- or disappeared. Statements said to be crucial to the prosecution’s case. But Peterson’s lawyers told WGN that they have other ways of keeping that evidence out.

Sue Doman, sister of Drew Peterson’s third wife, Kathleen Savio, is hopeful that this case –one way or another- will end with justice.  “We wouldn’t have been here if this investigation was done properly,” she said.

Likewise the family of fourth wife Stacy Peterson, Pam Bosco said “We’re thrilled as a family. We were always puzzled why it wasn’t admitted the first time but now that they’ve ruled in favor of the prosecution, we’re ready for trial-- we’re very happy with this.”

Here is the ruling from the third district appellate court, allowing hearsay evidence in the trial of the former Bolingbrook police officer charged with killing Kathleen, suspected in the disappearance of Stacy.

Will County State’s Attorney Jim Glasgow had argued the statements were needed to allow the alleged victims, essentially, to testify from the grave.

The decision means -eight secondhand statements —including some made by Savio before her mysterious drowning in 2004— will be used by will county prosecutors when this goes to trial.

But Peterson’s team calls attention to one footnote in the 15-page ruling, where the justices write-

“We do not mean to suggest (, however,) that the circuit court is required to admit those eight statements during the trial. Rather, we merely hold that the statements are admissible…” (and should be admitted)…”

To Peterson lawyer Joel Brodsky, that’s a win-- leaving open other options for keeping the hearsay evidence out.

"What I know about their case is they don't have one,” Brodsky said. “There is no evidence. And this hearsay- they're trying to call it evidence, but it's not. And its statements to the judge, judge white has already said, is unreliable. So what does that say about their case? And unfortunately this process takes time and my client has to lose years of his life until he's set free. That's the unfortunate part of it."

Peterson remains behind bars. He has been jailed since May of 2009. Prosecutors say they expect to bring this case to trial early this summer.