Judge to Decide on Mistrial Wednesday
It's the third week of testimony as Drew Peterson faces murder charges in the death of his third wife Kathleen Savio.
Updated 4:07 p.m.
Defense attorney Joel Brodsky wants a mistrial but only if Drew Peterson cannot be tried again. That did not sit well with Judge Edward Burmila.
"You don't say to the court, 'We want a mistrial, but only the way we want a mistrial.'"
If Burmila does not grant a mistrial, Brodsky effectively asked Burmila to tell the jury to find Peterson not guilty. Burmila said he was not going to do that. He also reiterated that he was not going to run his decisions past the defense for approval.
"I'm not going to come back here and say, "That's what I'm going to do, if it's all right with Mr. Peterson.'"
Updated 3:56 p.m.
Judge Edward Burmila will decide on the latest prosecution snufu Wednesday at 9 a.m.
Updated 2:56 p.m.
Defense attorney Joseph "Shark" Lopez pointed to prosecution's latest gaffe and said "an avalanche of errors have been committed by prosecutors, thereby jeopardizing their ability to get their case before a jury.
Updated 2:24 p.m.
Assistant State's Attorney Kathleen Patton asked former Bolingbrook police Lieutenant Teresa Kernc whether she advised Kathleen Savio to seek an order of protection against Drew Peterson.
Before the lunch recess, Judge Edward Burmila admonished prosecutors that they were not to mention the advice about the order of protection and whether or not Savio sought one.
Burmila cleared the jury from the courtroom and defense attorney Steve Greenberg argued for a mistrial -- the third time he has done so in nine days.
Greenberg pointed out that Burmila has yet to reprimand defense attorneys but that this is the third time the state has either gone against the judge's orders or made an improper statement in front of the jury.
"And we're supposed to be the slimy defense lawyers," Greenberg said.
Patton began to claim she didn't understand Burmila's instruction, but then apologized and said she had "no excuse."
A dejected Patton slumped on the rail of the empty jury box while Burmila accused her of flatly disregarding his order.
Greenberg is asking Burmila to toss the case, clearing the way for Peterson to be released from the county jail.
The judge has given prosecutors a half hour to devise another remedy.
Updated 12:23 p.m.
Pam Bosco, a friend of Stacy Peterson's family said it was "dumbfounding" that Judge Burmila is keeping out testimony from Stacy's aunt Candace Aikin and Aikin's friend Donna Badalamenti "for some ungodly reason."
"We all know Drew's character was to intimidate, to cause fear, to control," Bosco said.
Defense attorney Joel Brodsky contended that claiming you have the ability to kill someone and make the death appear the result of an accident is a "common" statement for a police officer to make.
When asked if it is stupid to make such a boast after one's wife dies in a supposed accident, defense attorney Joseph "Shark" Lopez pointed out that Peterson is a "jokester."
Updated 12:04 p.m.
Judge Edward Burmila has barred testimony from an aunt of Drew Peterson's missing fourth wife, Stacy Peterson, and one of the aunt's friends.
The aunt, Candace Aikin, and her friend, Donna Badalamenti, both traveled to Joliet from California to testify.
The women were expected to recount how Peterson stood up in front of them and--without prompting--told them that as a police officer, he had learned to kill someone and get away with it. At least one of the two women was expected by prosecutors to say Peterson told her he could kill someone and make the death appear to be the result of an accident.
Burmila felt that such testimony would be too prejudicial against Peterson. He also said that since it was supposedly said three years after Kathleen Savio's 2004 death, it was too remote from the time of the supposed murder.
Burmila also called the expected testimony "nebulous."
Updated 11:39 a.m.
With the jury out of the courtroom, attorneys sparred over how much testimony to allow from former Bolingbrook Police Officer Teresa Kernc.
Kernc took a report from Kathleen Savio about two weeks after her husband Drew Peterson allegedly broke into her home and menaced her at knifepoint.
Savio allegedly crossed out her mention of a knife in the written police report because she feared it might cost Peterson his job as a Bolingbrook police sergeant.
Updated 10:05 a.m.
Dr. Christopher Long was the first witness called today. A forensic toxicologist, Long testified that there was no sign of drugs or alcohol in the tissue sample taken from Kathleen Savio's liver. The toxicological testing was conducted soon after Savio was found dead in March 2004 and again after her body was exhumed in November 2007.
Today's witnesses are: Dr. Christopher Long, Bolingbrook Police Department Officer Teresa Kernc, Candace Aikin, Donna Badalamenti, Scott Rossetto and ISP Trooper Bryan Falat.
READ MORE ON BOLINGBROOK PATCH:
- Peterson Sees Son in the Flesh For First Time Since Murder Arrest 3 Years Ago
- Drew Peterson's Wife Slept With Knife Under Her Mattress, Friend Testifies
- Savio's Friend: Peterson Said He Could Kill Her, Make it Look Like Accident
- CSY Bother? Crime Scene Tech In Peterson Case Saw No Point In Collecting Evidence
- Kathleen Savio's Sister Testifies Peterson Told Savio He Would Kill Her
- Patch Editor Appears on WGN to Discuss Drew Peterson Case
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