Mugshot by the Illinois Department of Corrections, 2013
|Born||Drew Walter Peterson
January 5, 1954
|38 years in prison|
|Criminal status||Incarcerated in Menard Correctional Center|
|Conviction(s)||premeditated murder in the death of Kathleen Savio|
|Drew W. Peterson|
|Born||January 5, 1954|
|Department||Bolingbrook Police Department|
|Years of service||1977–2007|
Drew Walter Peterson (born January 5, 1954) is a retired Bolingbrook, Illinois, police sergeant and convicted felon who first received national publicity in the United States in 2007 when his fourth wife, Stacy Peterson, disappeared without warning. Suspicion of foul play grew within the public and law enforcement, fueled in part by the untimely death of Drew's third wife just three years prior. Stacy was never found, and Drew has not been charged in her case.
In 2009, Peterson was indicted for the murder of his third wife, Kathleen Savio, after a second autopsy gave evidence to a struggle. He was convicted in 2012 and received his sentence of 38 years on February 21, 2013.
Peterson is currently incarcerated at the Menard Correctional Center in Chester, Illinois. Including a 4-year credit for time served, the earliest possible release date is February 21, 2047 when Peterson will be 93 years old. He maintains his innocence.
- 1 Early life and military service
- 2 Law enforcement career
- 3 Marriages
- 4 Legal trouble
- 5 Lifetime television movie
- 6 References
- 7 External links
Early life and military service
In 1972, Peterson graduated from Willowbrook High School in Villa Park, Illinois, where he ran cross country. He joined the US Army after graduation and briefly attended the College of DuPage in 1974 before moving to Falls Church, Virginia to train as a military police officer.
Law enforcement career
Peterson had a 30-year career as a police officer. He began working with the Bolingbrook Police Department in Illinois in 1977. In 1978, he was assigned to the Metropolitan Area Narcotics Squad, and in 1979, he received a "Police Officer of the Year" award from the department.
Drew Peterson and Carol (Hamilton) Brown met in high school in Villa Park, Illinois, and together attended his senior prom. They married in 1974, but divorced in 1980, after Brown learned about his infidelity. Together they had sons Stephen Paul Peterson (1980) and Eric Drew Peterson.
Peterson married his second wife, Victoria (Rutkiewicz) Connolly, in 1982. Connolly alleged a history of abuse during her 10-year marriage to Peterson, as has her daughter, who lived in the household from the age of 8 to the age of 17. She divorced Peterson after he started dating Kathleen Savio. Their divorce was finalized on February 18, 1992. Peterson married Savio two months later. In 2007, Connolly stated that Peterson "was a legend in his own mind".
Peterson married Kathleen Savio (born June 13, 1963) on May 3, 1992. Together they had two sons, Thomas (5 January 1993) and Kristopher (8 August 1994). Their divorce was finalized on October 10, 2003. It was reported that between 2002 and 2004, police were called out to the Peterson house 18 times on domestic disturbance calls, including calls for returning children late after visitation. On March 1, 2004, Kathleen Savio's body was found in a waterless bathtub. Her death was initially ruled an accidental drowning by a coroner's jury that included a police officer who personally knew Peterson and assured the other jurors that Peterson was 'a good man who would never hurt his wife.'
However, following Stacy Peterson's later disappearance, Savio's body was exhumed and underwent forensic examination on November 16, 2007. Dr. Michael Baden, a former New York City chief medical examiner who conducted the examination at the request of Savio's relatives and Fox News, concluded that she died of drowning following a struggle when her body was placed in the bathtub. The results of the official autopsy ordered by the county have yet to be released to the public. Will Co., Illinois State's Attorney James Glasgow told the press that after examining evidence in the case, he believed that the death was a "homicide staged to look like an accident." On February 21, 2008, Glasgow announced that a pathologist determined that Savio's death was a homicide, adding that the death had been investigated as such since reopening the case following the exhumation.
Rev. Neil Schori, a pastor at Stacy Peterson's church, reported that Stacy had told him that Drew had killed Kathleen Savio and had made it look like an accident and that she was afraid of her husband. Stacy had provided Drew's alibi for his whereabouts on the evening on which Kathleen Savio died. The trial of Drew Peterson, proceeding in July 2012, was jeopardized when prosecutors attempted to introduce evidence that was not allowed. The Chicago Tribune reported about 9 p.m. that the judge would rule on a mistrial on August 2, 2012.
Stacy Ann Cales
Peterson married Stacy Ann Cales (born January 20, 1984) on October 18, 2003 and she subsequently took on the married name Stacy Peterson. Together they have two children a son Anthony (2003) and a daughter Lacy (2005). She disappeared on October 28, 2007. Stacy Peterson was officially reported missing in the early hours of October 29, 2007, after her sister, Cassandra Cales, failed to hear from her when expected. Drew Peterson claims that Stacy called him at 9 p.m. on Sunday to tell him that she had left him for another man and that she had left her car at Bolingbrook's Clow International Airport.
The last known recorded words from Stacy Peterson were left on a voicemail on her father's answering machine on October 17 at 12:37 p.m., 11 days before she disappeared. The message said, "Hey dad! It's me, Stacy, I just wanted to call you and tell you I love you. I also wanted to give you my new phone number. Okay, love you."
2007 disappearance of Stacy Peterson
Several leads were followed in the investigation by Illinois State Police, with FBI involvement. Four search warrants were issued and carried out on Peterson's property following Stacy's disappearance, including the seizure of his firearms and both his and Stacy's vehicles.
Following the mysterious disappearance of Stacy on October 28, 2007, Peterson announced his plans to retire as a Bolingbrook police sergeant effective December 2007. On November 15, 2007, the Bolingbrook Police Pension Board voted to allow Peterson to collect his pension of $6,067.71 per month, stating current law gave them no option, as Peterson had not been convicted of a crime.
Rick Mims, Peterson's long-time friend, admitted that Drew Peterson and Mims bought three blue containers from a cable company where they both worked part-time in 2003, and provided photos of these containers to police. Mims also sold his story to the tabloids for an undisclosed sum of money. Peterson's stepbrother, Thomas Morphey, who has a history of drug and alcohol addiction, attempted suicide two days after allegedly helping Drew carry a large blue plastic container from Peterson's Bolingbrook home to his sport utility vehicle, fearing he may have helped dispose of the body of Stacy Peterson. Neighbors reported seeing Peterson and another man hauling a 55-gallon barrel, large enough to hold a person, out of the house shortly after Stacy's disappearance. Cassandra Cales, Stacy's sister, said she wanted Drew Peterson to take a lie detector test about his knowledge of a blue barrel or container that she said she saw in their garage two days before Stacy disappeared. Joel Brodsky, Peterson's attorney, denied that any container was missing from Peterson's home. There were also reports of truckers referring to the containers, but their stories were treated as not credible after it was discovered that they had not been in the Bolingbrook area at the times they claimed.
April 2008 appearance on Larry King Live
Drew Peterson appeared on Larry King Live on April 11, 2008. His lawyer was present as an adviser regarding which questions Peterson should answer. The interview reran on May 9, 2009, two days after Peterson's arrest. Peterson also has made guest appearances (including one from county jail) on radio station WLS with Mancow Muller. After the appearance on WLS, Will County Judge Stephen White severely limited Peterson's access to the media.
2008 engagement to Christina Raines
In December 2008, Drew Peterson's publicist Glenn Selig confirmed that Peterson was engaged to a 23-year-old, Christina Raines; she would have been his fifth wife. On January 30, 2009, it was made public that Raines had moved out of Peterson's house. Her father, Ernie Raines, had issued an ultimatum, forcing her to choose between him and Peterson. Raines had issued the ultimatum to his daughter because he was concerned about the way Peterson tried to control Christina and was also scared that she would disappear just as Stacy had. Raines moved out of Peterson's home "when she came to her senses", calling the engagement a publicity stunt designed to keep Peterson in the media spotlight.
2009 indictment over Savio murder
In October 2009, Peterson sued JP Morgan Chase for revoking a home-equity credit line that he wanted to use to pay legal expenses. His income of "nearly $109,000 per year" was not sufficient. In July 2010, Judge Stephen White ruled that Peterson would remain in the Will County Jail for the remainder of his trial and appeals process. Prosecutors argued he could pose a danger if released.
On July 21, 2010, it was revealed that hearsay statements indicating Drew Peterson killed two of his wives are not reliable enough for a jury to hear at his trial. After presiding over a lengthy hearsay hearing, Judge Stephen White issued a four-page sealed ruling in May obtained by the Daily Herald. White ruled that prosecutors proved Peterson killed both Kathleen Savio and Stacy Peterson "by a preponderance of the evidence," but nearly all statements attributed to Stacy Peterson "do not provide sufficient safeguards of reliability." (The standard of proof in homicide cases is "beyond a reasonable doubt"; "preponderance of the evidence" is the standard for fact-finding on questions of admissibility of evidence, even in a criminal case.) Stacy Peterson's statements were crucial to the prosecution's case, as it lacked significant direct evidence.
In April 2012, a ruling was made in the murder case of Kathleen Savio. An Illinois appellate court ruled that prosecutors could use eight statements made by both the victim prior to her death and by Peterson's still-missing fourth wife Stacy prior to her disappearance. The ruling reversed Judge Stephen White's earlier decision. Drew Peterson's defense had contended that introduction of these alleged hearsay comments would constitute a violation of the defendant's Sixth Amendment right to confront any witnesses testifying against him.
The prosecution was helped by the passage of a new Illinois law, 725 ILCS 5/115-10.6, that became known as "Drew's Law", which allows prosecutors to enter hearsay statements into evidence under certain conditions. Passed while investigators were looking for Stacy Peterson, the legislation permits courts to consider statements from "unavailable witnesses," provided that prosecutors are able to prove that the witness was killed to prevent his or her testimony and that the hearsay statements are reliable.
On August 22, 2012, Jeff Pachter, a witness at Peterson's murder trial, said Peterson offered him $25,000 to hire someone to kill Savio and told him it would be a secret he would take to his grave.
On September 6, 2012, Drew Peterson was found guilty of the premeditated murder of Kathleen Savio. Jurors admitted that the most compelling evidence was based on the hearsay statements allowed under "Drew's Law". On February 21, 2013, Judge Edward Burmila refused to grant Peterson a new trial.
On February 21, 2013, Peterson was sentenced to 38 years in prison for the murder of his third wife and was transferred to Stateville Correctional Center the next morning where he was processed and then moved to Pontiac Correctional Center where he is inmate M35067. He is currently incarcerated at Menard Correctional Center.
Lifetime television movie
In June 2011, Lifetime television began filming Drew Peterson: Untouchable, depicting the events surrounding the death of Kathleen Savio and the disappearance of Stacy Peterson. Rob Lowe portrayed Drew Peterson in the film, and Kaley Cuoco portrayed Stacy Peterson. Peterson filed a cease-and-desist letter demanding that production on the movie be halted. The film aired on January 21, 2012, May 23, 2012, September 2, 2012, and September 16, 2012
- ACandyRose. "Stacy Peterson Recap". Acandyrose.com. Retrieved 7 August 2013.
- "The Wives of Drew Peterson - Local News | News Articles | National News | US News". FOXNews.com. 2008-12-17. Retrieved 2010-06-06.
- Barbara (2009-05-07). "Peterson says he loves, misses missing fourth wife - First wife talks, third wife reburied". Indianapolis: WLS. Retrieved 2007-11-19.
- http://www.hlntv.com/article/2012/07/11/talking-drew-petersons-son Eric has been estranged from their father for years, but apparently that has not affected the brothers’ relationship with each other. Stephen said he and Eric get along just fine.
- Slife, Erika. EXCLUSIVE: Peterson's second wife tells her story. Chicago Tribune. 16 November 2007.
- "Savio v. Peterson Complaint". Scribd.com. Retrieved 2010-06-06.
- http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2011-03-19/news/ct-met-drew-peterson-son-valedictoria20110319_1_drew-peterson-bolingbrook-police-sergeant-stacy-peterson After everything, Drew Peterson's son is valedictorian.
- http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/08/29/13549299-older-son-of-drew-peterson-kathleen-savio-says-he-believes-dad-is-innocent?lite 19y Old Thomas Peterson Testifies.
- Walberg, Matthew; Schmadeke, Steve; Grimm, Andy. "Kristopher Peterson, who turned 18 on yesterday was in the courtroom speaking to his father this afternoon before testimony resumed after lunch". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 7 August 2013.
- ""Unanswered Cries" Chicago magazine".
- "Peterson case: Did cops protect one of their own?". CNN. 2007-11-30. Archived from the original on 2007-11-30. Retrieved 7 August 2013.
- Kathleen Savio's Family Sues Drew Peterson . WGN Radio. April 21, 2009.
- Walberg, Matthew and Jo Napolitano. Expert: 3rd wife was slain. Chicago Tribune. 17 November 2007.
- Tarm, Michael. Relatives Try to Confront Ill. Officer. ABC News.com. 17 November 2007.
- Peterson's second wife recalls threats November 16, 2007.
- Death of former cop's third wife ruled a homicide. CNN.com. 21 February 2008.
- Peterson's Family Demands Drew Take Lie Detector Test. NBC5.com. Chicago. 27 November 2007.
- "Peterson judge halts testimony after defense seeks mistrial". Chicago Tribune. 1 August 2012. Retrieved 7 August 2013.
- Tarm, Michael. "DREW PETERSON WITHDRAWS REQUEST FOR MISTRIAL". AP. Retrieved 15 August 2012.
- Schmadeke, Steve; Stacy St. Clair; Matthew Walberg (September 6, 2012). "Peterson found guilty of murdering Savio". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved September 6, 2012.
- Schmadeke, Steve; Walberg, Matthew; St. Clair, Stacy. "Drew Peterson transferred to Pontiac prison". Chicago Tribune.
- Stacy Peterson's Family Releases Audio Recording. 7 December 2007.
- "Drew Peterson Charged With Murdering Third Wife, Held on $20M Bond". Fox News. 2009-05-07. Retrieved 2009-05-07.
- WBBM. Drew Peterson Tells Newsradio: My Retirement Sucks. wbbm780.com. 6 December 2007.
- Missing Mom Stacy Peterson's Family Wants Husband, Drew, to Take Lie Detector Test FoxNews.com. 30 November 2007.
- Police say claim of Peterson sighting by trucker unfounded. Northwest Herald. 7 December 2007.
- Peterson case: Trucker lied. UPI.com. 7 December 2007.
- Relative linked to Stacy Peterson case. UPI.com. 28 November 2007.
- Peterson's Missing Blue Containers Dec. 13, 2007.
- "CNN.com". CNN. Retrieved 2010-05-01.
- Associated Press 11:20 a.m. CDT, June 5, 2010. "Police investigate lead on Peterson's 4th wife". chicagotribune.com. Retrieved 2010-06-06.
- Drew Peterson Engaged.
- "Drew Peterson's Fiancee Moves Out After Father Issues Ultimatum - Local News | News Articles | National News | US News". FOXNews.com. 2009-01-30. Retrieved 2010-06-06.
- "Woman calls her engagement to Drew Peterson a media stunt - CNN.com". CNN. 2009-02-02. Retrieved 2010-05-01.
- "Indictment (Illinois v. Drew Peterson)". FindLaw. 2009-05-07. Retrieved 2009-05-08.
- May 8, 2009 12:40 AM (2009-05-08). "Peterson arrested on murder charges". Chicago Breaking News. Retrieved 2010-06-06.
- Spak, Kara (2009-10-27). "Drew Peterson suing JP Morgan Chase :: CHICAGO SUN-TIMES ::". Suntimes.com. Retrieved 2010-06-06.
- "Drew Peterson Jail Stay Extended by Judge". National Ledger. July 9, 2010. Retrieved July 11, 2010.
- "Setback for Peterson Prosecution". UPI.com. Retrieved 7 August 2013.
- "Drew Peterson hearing set for Friday". CNN. 4 May 2012. Retrieved 4 May 2012.
- "Drew Peterson offered $25K to kill his third wife, witness says". Fox News. 22 August 2012. Retrieved 22 August 2012.
- Curry, Colleen (7 September 2012). "Drew Peterson Jury Says Hearsay Convinced Them to Convict".
- Winter, Michael (21 February 2013). "Judge denies Drew Peterson new trial". USA Today. Retrieved 21 February 2013.
- "Drew Peterson sentenced to 38 years for murder". Yahoo News. Retrieved 21 February 2013.
- Steve Schmadeke, Matthew Walberg and Stacy St. Clair (22 February 2013). "Drew Peterson transferred from Will County jail to Stateville". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 22 February 2013.
- "Drew Peterson now Inmate No. M35067". AP. 25 February 2013. Retrieved 26 February 2013.
- Andrew Stern (July 14, 2011). "Drew Peterson demands halt to TV movie on murder case". Reuters.
- Natalie Abrams (December 16, 2011). "Rob Lowe Sports a Mean 'Stache in Drew Peterson: Untouchable". TV Guide.
- Ann Oldenburg (January 22, 2012). "Drew Peterson: Lifetime movie was 'hysterical'". USA Today.
- Indictment (Illinois v. Peterson)
- Dateline NBC's interview with Drew Peterson
- Drew Peterson featured on America's Most Wanted
- Savio v. Peterson Complaint