Death Scene, Drew Peterson's Behavior Described in Testimony
The judge in the murder trial decided against halting the proceedings; five witnesses testified Thursday.
The Drew Peterson murder trial made it through a third day despite impassioned pleas from one of his lawyers to pull the plug on it and set the accused wife-killer free.
Peterson attorney Steve Greenberg accused prosecutors of intentionally introducing forbidden testimony and said the jury is "hearing time and time again things they shouldn't be hearing."
Greenberg said the improper testimony started after State's Attorney James Glasgow was blocked from telling the jury how Peterson allegedly offered a Braidwood man $25,000 to find someone to kill his third wife, Kathleen Savio.
"They intentionally did it because they didn't get the hit man in and they didn't get other evidence in," Greenberg said. "It's appalling. I don't think it's fair we have to continue."
Greenberg used a mocking imitation of Glasgow's voice during his argument and pointed out that prosecutors "want to make everyone think (Peterson's) a bad guy."
But Judge Edward Burmila thought it was fair, and decided all he had to do to level the playing field was instruct the jury to disregard a small portion of testimony from Wednesday's session.
That testimony was given by Savio's next-door neighbor, Thomas Pontarelli. Pontarelli recalled how Peterson tried to intimidate him by placing a bullet in his driveway. The jurors cannot use that information when they deliberate.
After Burmila cleared the wasy for the trial to continue, Bolingbrook Firefighter-Paramedic Louis Oleszkiewicz, who was dispatched to Savio's house the night she was found drowned in her dry bathtub in March 2004, took the stand.
Oleszkiewicz was one of four firefighters to testify Thursday that they did not see a towel on the edge of Savio's tub. The blue towel can be seen on the tub in crime scene photos taken after the firefighters left.
Oleszkiewicz said he noticed there was no towel or bath mat anywhere near the tub. He found it strange they were missing because if he does not use these things when he bathes, water gets on the floor and his "wife's socks get wet, and she gets mad.”
Also Thursday, Bolingbrook locksmith Robert Akin told the jury about opening the door to Kathleen Savio's house on the night she was found dead.
Akin said that in his 40 years as a locksmith he has been called as often as twice a month by the Bolingbrook police to open doors for wellness checks. He also does maintenance work at the Bolingbrook Police Department, he said.
On the night Savio's body was found, Akin said, he did not know whose house he was opening or why he was opening it.
Akin said he was met at the house by Drew Peterson, who was dressed in his police sergeant’s uniform. He said he knows Peterson well and when he was asked to identify Peterson in the courtroom said, “Nice tie.”
Akin testified to picking a doorknob lock that could be locked from the outside without a key. A deadbolt that needed a key to lock from the outside was found to be unlocked.
Once the door was opened, Akin said, people he did not know went inside. Akin recalled staying put on the porch. He said that while he packed his tools he was "chit-chatting" with Peterson.
Shortly after opening the door, Akin said, "There was, like a lot of commotion, screaming."
Peterson then "just looked and said, 'I got to go,'" and went in the house, Akin said.
Defense attorney Joel Brodsky repeatedly tried and failed to get Akin to admit it takes more than one person to pick a lock in the dark. He was also unable to get Akin to concede that picking a lock makes a "loud" noise.
The Wheaton attorney who represented Savio in her divorce from Peterson, Harry Smith, was in a courtroom corridor waiting to testify but both sides are still wrangling about what he will be allowed to say.
Prosecutor John Connor wants Smith to discuss the financial side of Savio and Peterson's divorce, and to tell how Savio was put at a disadvantage when she was killed and deprived of the ability to speak for herself.
Judge Burmila disagreed, saying, "Just because it makes logical sense doesn't mean it makes legal sense."
Smith is expected to testify at some point next week.
Read More: Drew Peterson Coverage on Patch