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Policing

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Submitted By maura5e
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Court system

Drew Peterson, a former Illinois police officer, was found guilty of murdering with third wife Kathleen Savio (Curry, 2012). Savio was found dead in her dry bathtub back in 2004 and it had originally been deemed an accident (Curry, 2012). However, when his fourth wife Stacy Peterson went missing in 2007, Savio’s death became questionable (Curry, 2012). With her death in question, exhuming and reexamining her body was the next step (Curry, 2012). Now ruling her death as a homicide, Peterson would receive charges of first-degree murder and was facing up to 60 years in prison (Curry, 2012). Ruling Savio’s death as a homicide was no easy task (Curry, 2012). Prosecutors were building this case mainly on hearsay evidence which is typically barred so it was the first case of its kind in Illinois history (Curry, 2012). Made to fit Peterson’s case, “Drew’s Law” was passed to allow hearsay evidence under rare circumstances (Curry, 2012). This case became such a big deal that Lifetime made a movie about it (Curry, 2012). When looking at it, they were relying on statements made by his fourth wife Stacy along with many others as evidence (Curry, 2012). - Friend Kristin Anderson testifying that Savio told her Peterson once warned her at knifepoint, "I could kill you and make it look like an accident." - Stacy Peterson's pastor, Neil Schori, testified she told him that her husband got up from bed and left their house in the middle of the night around the time of Savio's death. Drew Peterson later coached his fourth wife on how to lie to police, Schori said (Curry, 2012,P.1)

There were worries about the precedent a conviction depending on hearsay could set (Curry, 2012). It was something that might open doors to the admissibility of such evidence not only in Illinois but elsewhere (Curry, 2012). In fact, Peterson’s attorneys were mentioning appealing to the U.S. Supreme Court on the grounds that Illinois’ hearsay law is unconstitutional (Curry, 2012). Prosecutors were under extreme pressure to prove that a murder actually took place (Curry, 2012). The fact Peterson’s fourth wife Stacy was missing and that everyone is assuming she was dead was not even to be brought to knowledge (Curry, 2012). That makes it difficult when a fair amount of evidence is based on her (Curry, 2012). Her disappearance is what made Kathleen Savio’s death questionable (Curry, 2012). Fortunately, pathologists were there to testify for the defense that it would be impossible for Savio to receive the bruising on the front of her body and the wound on the back of her head from one single fall (Curry, 2012). Additionally, his motive for killing Savio did exist because he feared that their pending divorce settlement, including their $300,000 home, would leave him penniless (Curry, 2012). Peterson was also demonstrating strange behavior which was not becoming of someone in his position (Curry, 2012). Before his arrest in 2009, he seemed to be teasing authorities with wisecracks and stunts such as joking on talk shows and sucking up all of the attention calling himself a “media sensation” (Curry, 2012). In addition, he was suggesting a “Win a Date With Drew Contest”(Curry, 2012). He then went even further after his arrest, phoning a radio show from jail now suggesting a “Win a Conjugal Visit With Drew Contest” (Curry, 2012).

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