Drew Peterson

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Drew Peterson
Born Drew Walter Peterson
(1954-01-05) January 5, 1954 (age 64)
Bolingbrook, Illinois, U.S
Occupation Former Police Officer
Criminal penalty 78 years in prison
Criminal status Incarcerated at United States Penitentiary, Terre Haute
  • Carol Brown (m. 1974–1980)
  • Vicki Connolly (m. 1982–1992)
  • Kathleen Savio (m. 1992–2003)
  • Stacy Ann Cales
    (m. 2003–?; missing in 2007)
Children 6
Conviction(s) Premeditated murder in the 2004 death of Kathleen Savio, solicitation of Murder for hire in the attempted murder of James Glasgow

Drew Walter Peterson (born January 5, 1954) is a convicted murderer who first received national publicity in 2007 when his fourth wife, Stacy Ann Cales Peterson, disappeared. Although law enforcement and the public suspected foul play, she has never been found, and Peterson has not been charged in her case.

Suspicions in Stacy Peterson's case were fueled in part by the untimely death three years prior of Drew Peterson's third wife, Kathleen Savio, a few months after her divorce from Drew. Savio was found dead in a dry bathtub in her home in 2004, with extensive bruises and a large gash in her scalp, now believed to be a stab wound.[1] Initially, her official cause of death was found to be accidental drowning.[2] In 2009, Peterson was indicted for Savio's murder after a second autopsy showed evidence of a struggle. He was convicted of Savio’s murder in 2012, and was sentenced to 38 years in prison on February 21, 2013.

On February 9, 2015, Peterson was charged with two additional felonies, solicitation of murder and solicitation of murder for hire, for attempting to have Will County State's Attorney James Glasgow killed.[3] He was convicted on May 31, 2016, and sentenced to an additional 40 years on July 29, 2016. [4]

On February 21, 2017, Peterson was transferred from Illinois Department of Corrections custody to a federal facility in Terre Haute, IN. On March 29, 2017, Peterson was reportedly attacked by another inmate with a food tray in the dining area and separated from general population afterwards.

Early life and military service[edit]

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.[5]

Law enforcement career[edit]

Peterson had a 30-year career as a police officer. He began working with the Bolingbrook Police Department in Illinois in 1977.[5] 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.[5]


Carol Brown[edit]

Drew Peterson and Carol (Hamilton) Brown met in high school in Villa Park, Illinois, and together attended his senior prom.[5][6] They married in 1974, but divorced in 1980, after Brown learned about his infidelity.[7] Together they had sons Stephen Paul Peterson (1980) and Eric Drew Peterson.[8]

Vicki Connolly[edit]

Peterson married his second wife, Victoria "Vicki" (Rutkiewicz) Connolly, in 1982; the two operated a bar together in Romeoville.[6] Connolly alleged a history of abuse during her 10-year marriage to Peterson,[9] as has her daughter, who lived in the household from the age of 8 to the age of 17. In the wake of Stacy Peterson's disappearance, Connolly came forward to police, stating that during their marriage, Peterson told her he could kill her and make it look like an accident.[10] She divorced Peterson after he started dating Kathleen Savio.[6] Their divorce was finalized on February 18, 1992. Peterson married Savio two months later.[5] In 2007, Connolly stated that Peterson "was a legend in his own mind".[6]

Kathleen Savio[edit]

Peterson married accountant Kathleen Savio (born June 13, 1963 in Glendale Heights, Illinois)[11] on May 3, 1992.[12] Together they had two sons, Thomas (January 5, 1993)[13][14] and Kristopher (August 8, 1994).[15] Their divorce was finalized on October 10, 2003.[5] 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.[16] On March 1, 2004,[17] 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.[18]

However, following Stacy Peterson's later disappearance, Savio's body was exhumed and underwent forensic examination on November 16, 2007.[19] 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. Postmortem photos showed extensive bruising and scraping to her back, torso, and face, as well as a large, unexplained gash in her scalp, now believed to be a stab wound.[1] Many believed these injuries were overlooked during the first autopsy. The results of the official autopsy ordered by the county have yet to be released to the public.[20] Will County, 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."[20][21] On February 21, 2008, Glasgow announced that a pathologist had determined that Savio's death was a homicide,[22] adding that the death had been investigated as such since reopening the case following the exhumation.

Reverend 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.[23] 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.[24]

On August 15, 2012, Peterson told a judge that he wanted to withdraw a request for a mistrial. His lawyers said that he wanted the current jury to decide if he killed his third wife.[25]

On September 6, 2012, Peterson was convicted of killing Savio.[26] On February 21, 2013, Peterson was denied a mistrial and sentenced to 38 years in prison.[27]

Stacy Ann Peterson[edit]

At age 49, Peterson married 19-year-old hotel receptionist, Stacy Ann Cales (born January 20, 1984 in Downers Grove, Illinois) on October 18, 2003, and she subsequently changed her last name to Peterson.[5] Together they had two children, a son Anthony (2003)[28] and a daughter Lacy (2005).[28] She disappeared on October 28, 2007. Stacy Peterson legally adopted Savio's children, and treated them like they were her own. She was close to completing her nursing degree from Joliet Junior College at the time of her disappearance. 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.[29] 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 2001 Ford Focus at Bolingbrook's Clow International Airport.

Stacy Peterson is still considered a missing person. Her family has launched a website to help find her at SearchingForStacyPeterson.com.

Legal trouble[edit]

2007 disappearance of Stacy Peterson[edit]

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,[30] stating current law gave them no option, as Peterson had not been convicted of a crime.[9]

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.[23][31][32][33][34][35]

2008 media appearances[edit]

On January 23, 2008, Peterson and his attorney, Joel Brodsky, called in to Steve Dahl's radio show on WJMK Chicago. Dahl had been lampooning Peterson on his show since the initial news reports appeared. Brodsky suggested that Dahl host an on-air "dating game" with Peterson the following day, but WJMK managers and Dahl decided not to go through with it.[36] Peterson appeared on Larry King Live on April 11, 2008. Brodsky was again present to advise which questions Peterson should answer.[37] The interview reran on May 9, 2009, two days after Peterson's arrest. Peterson subsequently made guest appearances (including one from county jail) on radio station WLS with Mancow Muller.[38] After the appearances on WLS, Will County Judge Stephen White severely limited Peterson's access to the media.

2008 engagement to Christina Raines[edit]

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.[39] 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.[40] 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.[41]

2009 indictment over Savio murder[edit]

On May 7, 2009, Peterson was indicted[42] by the Will County Grand Jury and arrested for the murder of his third wife, Kathleen Savio.[43] Bail was set at $20 million.[43][44]

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.[45] 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.[46] 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 were 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.[47]

In April 2012, a ruling was made in the murder case of Kathleen Savio.[48] 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 Illinois legislature attempted to help the prosecution with 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. Analysis by the trial court under this new law led to eight out of fourteen hearsay statements being ruled inadmissible because they were insufficiently reliable. On appeal, however, the Court of Appeals reversed the trial court, ruling that the common law doctrine of forfeiture by wrongdoing, which is less restrictive than "Drew's Law", would allow the statements to be admitted.[49]

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.[50]


On September 6, 2012, Drew Peterson was found guilty of the premeditated murder of Kathleen Savio.[26] Jurors admitted that the most compelling evidence was based on the hearsay statements allowed under "Drew's Law".[51] On February 21, 2013, he was sentenced to 38 years in prison for the murder of his third wife. He is currently incarcerated at the United States Penitentiary, Terre Haute. After a number of appeals, on September 21, 2017, the Illinois Supreme Court upheld the conviction.

Lifetime television movie[edit]

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, Cara Buono portrayed Kathleen Savio, and Kaley Cuoco portrayed Stacy Peterson. Peterson filed a cease-and-desist letter demanding that production on the movie be halted.[52] The film originally aired on January 21, 2012. [53][54]


  1. ^ a b Hosey, Joseph (16 August 2012). "The Horror of What Kathleen Savio Went Through Before She Died". Bolingbrook Patch. Retrieved 13 February 2017. 
  2. ^ Walberg, Matthew; Slife, Erica (22 February 2008). "2004 death of Kathleen Savio ruled a homicide". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 13 February 2017. 
  3. ^ "Drew Peterson charged with attempted murder-for-hire of Illinois prosecutor". The Guardian. 9 Feb 2015. Retrieved 22 Feb 2015. 
  4. ^ "Drew Peterson gets 40 extra years for plot to kill prosecutor". Retrieved 30 July 2016. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g ACandyRose. "Stacy Peterson Recap". Acandyrose.com. Retrieved 7 August 2013. 
  6. ^ a b c d "The Wives of Drew Peterson - Local News | News Articles | National News | US News". FOXNews.com. 2008-12-17. Retrieved 2010-06-06. 
  7. ^ Barbara (2009-05-07). "Peterson says he loves, misses missing fourth wife - First wife talks, third wife reburied". Indianapolis: WLS. Retrieved 2007-11-19. 
  8. ^ 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.
  9. ^ a b Slife, Erika. EXCLUSIVE: Peterson's second wife tells her story. Chicago Tribune. 16 November 2007.
  10. ^ Slife, Erika (16 November 2007). "Peterson's second wife tells her story". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 13 February 2017. 
  11. ^ "Kathleen Savio". legacy.com. Chicago Tribune Media Group. Retrieved 13 February 2017. 
  12. ^ "Savio v. Peterson Complaint". Scribd.com. Retrieved 2010-06-06. 
  13. ^ 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.
  14. ^ 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.
  15. ^ Walberg, Matthew; Schmadeke, Steve; Grimm, Andy (9 August 2012). "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. 
  16. ^ ""Unanswered Cries" Chicago magazine". 
  17. ^ "Peterson case: Did cops protect one of their own?". CNN. 2007-11-30. Archived from the original on 2008-03-11. Retrieved 7 August 2013. 
  18. ^ Kathleen Savio's Family Sues Drew Peterson . WGN Radio. April 21, 2009.
  19. ^ Walberg, Matthew and Jo Napolitano. Expert: 3rd wife was slain. Chicago Tribune. 17 November 2007.
  20. ^ a b Tarm, Michael. Relatives Try to Confront Ill. Officer. ABC News.com. 17 November 2007.
  21. ^ Peterson's second wife recalls threats November 16, 2007.
  22. ^ Death of former cop's third wife ruled a homicide. CNN.com. 21 February 2008.
  23. ^ a b Peterson's Family Demands Drew Take Lie Detector Test. NBC5.com. Chicago. 27 November 2007.
  24. ^ "Peterson judge halts testimony after defense seeks mistrial". Chicago Tribune. 1 August 2012. Retrieved 7 August 2013. 
  25. ^ Tarm, Michael. "DREW PETERSON WITHDRAWS REQUEST FOR MISTRIAL". AP. Retrieved 15 August 2012. 
  26. ^ a b Schmadeke, Steve; Stacy St. Clair; Matthew Walberg (September 6, 2012). "Peterson found guilty of murdering Savio". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved September 6, 2012. 
  27. ^ Schmadeke, Steve; Walberg, Matthew; St. Clair, Stacy (22 February 2013). "Drew Peterson transferred to Pontiac prison". Chicago Tribune. 
  28. ^ a b http://www.hlntv.com/article/2012/07/11/talking-drew-petersons-son
  29. ^ "Searching for Stacy Peterson - Missing Person Fundraiser". www.SearchingForStacyPeterson.com. Retrieved 6 February 2017. 
  30. ^ WBBM. Drew Peterson Tells Newsradio: My Retirement Sucks. wbbm780.com. 6 December 2007.
  31. ^ Missing Mom Stacy Peterson's Family Wants Husband, Drew, to Take Lie Detector Test FoxNews.com. 30 November 2007.
  32. ^ Police say claim of Peterson sighting by trucker unfounded. Northwest Herald. 7 December 2007.
  33. ^ Peterson case: Trucker lied. UPI.com. 7 December 2007.
  34. ^ Relative linked to Stacy Peterson case. UPI.com. 28 November 2007.
  35. ^ Peterson's Missing Blue Containers Dec. 13, 2007.
  36. ^ Rosenthal, Phil (2008-01-24). "Dahl draws a line on date for Drew". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2014-10-24. 
  37. ^ "CNN.com". CNN. Retrieved 2010-05-01. 
  38. ^ Associated Press 11:20 a.m. CDT, June 5, 2010. "Police investigate lead on Peterson's 4th ssdate=2010-06-06". 
  39. ^ Drew Peterson Engaged.
  40. ^ "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. 
  41. ^ "Woman calls her engagement to Drew Peterson a media stunt - CNN.com". CNN. 2009-02-02. Retrieved 2010-05-01. 
  42. ^ "Indictment (Illinois v. Drew Peterson)". FindLaw. 2009-05-07. Retrieved 2009-05-08. 
  43. ^ a b "Drew Peterson Charged With Murdering Third Wife, Held on $20M Bond". Fox News. 2009-05-07. Retrieved 2009-05-07. 
  44. ^ "Peterson arrested on murder charges". Chicago Breaking News. 2009-05-08. Retrieved 2010-06-06. 
  45. ^ Spak, Kara (2009-10-27). "Drew Peterson suing JP Morgan Chase :: CHICAGO SUN-TIMES ::". Suntimes.com. Retrieved 2010-06-06. 
  46. ^ "Drew Peterson Jail Stay Extended by Judge". National Ledger. July 9, 2010. Retrieved July 11, 2010. 
  47. ^ "Setback for Peterson Prosecution". UPI.com. Retrieved 7 August 2013. 
  48. ^ "Drew Peterson hearing set for Friday". CNN. 4 May 2012. Retrieved 4 May 2012. 
  49. ^ Holdridge, William. "People v. Peterson, 2012 Il App (3d) 100514-B" (PDF). Illinois Court of Appeals, Third District. 
  50. ^ "Drew Peterson offered $25K to kill his third wife, witness says". Fox News. 22 August 2012. Retrieved 22 August 2012. 
  51. ^ Curry, Colleen (7 September 2012). "Drew Peterson Jury Says Hearsay Convinced Them to Convict". 
  52. ^ Andrew Stern (July 14, 2011). "Drew Peterson demands halt to TV movie on murder case". Reuters. 
  53. ^ Natalie Abrams (December 16, 2011). "Rob Lowe Sports a Mean 'Stache in Drew Peterson: Untouchable". TV Guide. 
  54. ^ Ann Oldenburg (January 22, 2012). "Drew Peterson: Lifetime movie was 'hysterical'". USA Today. 

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