Drew Peterson Lawyers Begin Defense

By: The AP
By: The AP
Drew Peterson

FILE - In this May 8, 2009 file photo, former Bolingbrook, Ill., police officer Drew Peterson leaves the Will County Courthouse in Joliet, Ill., after his arraignment on charges of first-degree murder in the 2004 death of his third wife Kathleen Savio. On Tuesday, Aug. 7, 2012, prosecutors resume their case against Peterson in the second week of his trial. They got off to a rocky start, enduring frequent tongue-lashings from the judge over testimony that he has deemed inadmissable. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green, File)

JOLIET, Ill. (AP) -- Drew Peterson's attorneys have started mounting their defense at the former Illinois police officer's murder trial.

Their first witness Monday was a neighbor and close friend of Peterson's alleged victim, his third wife -- Kathleen Savio.

Mary Pontarelli told jurors she never saw Peterson strike Savio and never saw him get mad at his then-wife.

Prosecutors rested their case earlier Monday after calling more than 30 witnesses over four weeks.

Pontarelli was also one of the first witnesses for the state, testifying how she came across Savio's dead body in a bathtub in 2004.

Peterson was only charged in Savio's death after his fourth wife, Stacy Peterson, went missing in 2007.

Peterson pleaded not guilty and faces a maximum 60-year prison sentence if convicted.



JOLIET (AP) -- Drew Peterson's lawyers have asked a judge at his murder trial to acquit the former Illinois police officer.

The motion for a directed verdict came after prosecutors rested Monday. Such motions ask the judge himself to render a not guilty verdict before jurors even deliberate.

Peterson has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder in the 2004 death of his third wife, Kathleen Savio. He was only charged after his fourth wife, Stacy Peterson, disappeared in 2007.

To grant a directed verdict, the judge must conclude the state fell far short of proving their case. Judges rarely grant such motion but the uniqueness of this case left some wondering it's possible in this case.

Prosecutors presented no physical evidence linking Peterson to Savio's death and relied on normally barred hearsay.


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