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Ex-Cop Peterson Gets 38 Years In Murder Of Third Wife

Former Bolingbrook Police Sergeant Drew Peterson was sentenced to 38 years in prison today by a Will County judge. Peterson was found guilty last year for the 2004 murder of Kathleen Savio.

Savio was found in a dry bathtub with a gash in her head: at the time, her death was ruled accidental. But the investigation into the 2007 disappearance of Peterson’s fourth wife, 23-year-old Stacy Peterson, led prosecutors to take a second look at Savio’s death. Stacy Peterson has never been located.

Peterson gained national notoriety for his swaggering personality and the casual tone he took toward the charges against him. He shocked the courtroom Thursday by starting what turned into a long tirade against prosecutors and the public by screaming “I did not kill Kathleen!”

The 59-year-old could have been sentenced to sixty years in prison. Judge Edward Burmila also gave Peterson four years credit for time served. Earlier in the day, Burmila denied Peterson’s request for a new trial.

This trial gave rise to changes in Illinois law that allowed hearsay evidence to be introduced. Prosecutors didn’t have physical proof that Peterson killed Savio. What has been dubbed “Drew’s Law” allowed statements from friends that Peterson had threatened Savio’s life to be admissible in court. 

Susan is an award-winning reporter/writer at her favorite radio station. She's also WNIJ's Perspectives editor, Under Rocks contributor, and local host of All Things Considered.