Bruises covered the front of dead body and her back was extensively scraped, the abrasions inflicted within an hour of her death, a doctor testified Wednesday.
The back of Savio's head also bore an inch-long deep wound resulting from a blow hard enough to split her scalp but not open it down to her skull, said the doctor, forensic pathologist Larry Blum.
Blum, testifying on the 10th day of murder trial, reviewed the autopsy performed by Dr. Bryan Mitchell in the weeks after Savio—the third wife of Peterson—was found drowned in her dry bathtub in March 2004. Blum also performed a second autopsy on Savio's exhumed remains after Peterson's next wife, , mysteriously vanished in October 2007.
Blum's testimony made it clear he disagreed with the conclusion drawn by Mitchell, who has since died. Mitchell wrote that the laceration to Savio's head looked like it could have been sustained when she slipped and fell in her bathtub. During an inquest into Savio's death, Will County Coroner referred to Mitchell's report and said "there are six—or there are seven other bruises noted to the decedent, all of which are old."
Blum testified that the bruises were not old at all, and that they were put on her body within 24 hours of her dying.
Blum also said the abrasions on Savio's body could not have been caused by her back rubbing against the smooth surface of her bathtub.
"It looked like she was brutalized that night," said Pam Bosco, a family friend of the still-missing Stacy.
Bosco, who has taken on the role of spokeswoman for the young mother's family since she vanished, shuddered at the thought of Savio's last moments before drowning, saying, "The horror of what Kathleen Savio must have went through before she died."
Bosco has attended all 10 days of the trial, and has seemed to have gotten under the skin of Peterson attorney , who was grousing earlier in the week about Bosco's presence and public comments.
"The defense silenced two women and now they're trying to silence the spokeswoman," said Bosco, who has been frustrated by Judge Burmila's decision to limit mention of Stacy's name during the trial and to keep out some of Savio's hearsay statements.
"He's being disrespectful," she said of Brodsky, "and he's trying to silence those who would speak for them."
Blum's testimony took up nearly the entire afternoon and Will County State's Attorney James Glasgow told Burmila he still has more questions to ask. Blum will return to the witness stand Thursday morning.
Wednesday's session at the Will County Courthouse began with talk of a mistrial and saw the issue revisited near the end of the day.
Peterson's attorneys started things off by withdrawing a request for a mistrial they put forth late Tuesday after Assistant State's Attorney asked retired Bolingbrook police Lt. Teresa Kernc—who is now the mayor of Diamond—whether she advised Savio to seek an order of protection against Peterson.
Less than two hours earlier, before taking a midday recess, Judge instructed prosecutors not to ask questions about the protective order, which Savio did not choose to pursue.
Then Wednesday afternoon, Blum testified that he "crawled into" Savio's bathtub while conducting his investigation of her death. The judge cleared the courtroom and grilled Glasgow about whether he told Blum—as he was instructed—to steer clear of talking about being in Savio's tub.
Glasgow claimed he did indeed tell Blum not to talk about climbing in the tub. Glasgow also explained that he was "woozy" after questioning the doctor for an hour and a half.
"Yesterday it was a brain cramp," Burmila said, apparently referring to Patton's screw-up. "Today it's wooziness."
Burmila scolded Glasgow and his assistants' for their apparent disregard of his instructions.
"It doesn't appear that any of the orders I've made in this case, the state has paid any attention," the judge said.
"The disrespect for the court in that regard is shocking to the conscience," he said.