In my last blog post, I wrote about the new TNT show “Cold Justice” that debuts next Tuesday night. The show features former Texas prosecutor Kelly Siegler and Las Vegas CSI Yolanda McClary who travel across America’s small towns taking a second look at some unsolved cold homicide cases. I’m excited about the show, mostly because I’m a fan of Siegler’s work as a prosecutor but also the premise of the show seems different than many of the present formatted crime shows. I believe they will be looking for unsolved murders that happened in rural areas where law enforcement resources were sparse. But wouldn’t it be cool if they could get to the bottom of some of the more well known unsolved homicide/missing person cases? At the top of my personal wish list: the disappearance of Stacy Peterson.
Most people believe Stacy Peterson is not simply missing, she was killed. The prime suspect in the case has always been her husband Drew Peterson. Stacy Peterson met and married the much older Drew Peterson after meeting him while he was on duty as a Bolingbrook police officer. He was married to Kathleen Savio at the time, but the two quickly began a romantic relationship and when she became pregnant with his child Peterson and Savio began bitter divorce proceedings. Savio was Peterson’s third wife, Stacy would be wife #4. After the divorce was final, Drew married Stacy – the only thing remaining aside from the custodial arrangements of Peterson and Savio’s children was the division of property and assets. Savio didn’t live to make it to court for the decision on division of assets, she was found dead in her bathtub. Originally ruled an accident by the coroner, many of Kathleen’s family and friends were convinced her abusive ex husband killed her.
A little more than 4 years after Stacy married Drew Peterson, she simply disappeared. On October 29, 2007 she was reported missing but not by her husband, she was reported missing by her sister Cassandra Cales after Stacy failed to show up for plans they had and nobody could reach her. The last time family or friends heard from Stacy was on October 17, 2007 when she left a voicemail message on her father’s answering machine – in the message, Stacy left a new cellphone number for her family. Stacy’s family knew there had been trouble in the marriage for some time, with Drew becoming more and more controlling over Stacy – insisting on knowing where she was at all times and who she was with. Stacy wanted out of the marriage, but she feared Drew – and for good reason. Stacy had been holding on to a secret that more than likely got her killed. She knew that her husband had left their home on the night of Kathleen Savio’s death (murder). She woke up in the middle of the night and he was not in bed. She later found him in the laundry room, dressed in dark colored clothing and putting women’s clothing as well as his own clothes in the washing machine. This was of particular interest because Drew never did his own laundry. Where did the women’s clothing come from, and why did Drew have it? What was he doing out in the middle of the night and why did he coach her on what to tell police about that night during routine questioning after Kathleen’s death? We know the answer to those questions now. It took Stacy’s disappearance for law enforcement to take a second look at the suspicious death of Kathleen Savio.
Drew Peterson was eventually arrested for the murder of Kathleen Savio. After her body was exhumed, a second autopsy proved crucial in showing her death was not an accidental drowning. Drew Peterson was tried and convicted of killing Kathleen Savio in 2012 after a trial that was as much of a media circus as the Jodi Arias and Casey Anthony trials – although Peterson’s trial did not have cameras in the courtroom, it was still widely covered and discussed nightly on a national level. Peterson was convicted in part due to a controversial new law enacted for this case. Dubbed “Drew’s Law”, state prosecutors were able to use statements Stacy Peterson made to her pastor Neil Schori and divorce attorney Harry Smith at trial. Stacy went to the pastor and told him she believed she helped her husband Drew get away with murdering his ex wife Kathleen Savio. She feared the knowledge put her in danger, and she was right. Peterson’s defense team made what turned out to be a crucial mistake at trial by calling attorney Harry Smith to the stand as a witness. The prosecution pounced on the opportunity and elicited some very damaging testimony from Smith regarding conversations he had with Stacy Peterson before her disappearance. Smith told jurors that Stacy Peterson asked him if she could use her knowledge of Drew’s involvement in Kathleen’s death/murder as leverage against him in divorce proceedings. Can you say M-O-T-I-V-E???
There are a few things Drew Peterson would not stand for from the women in his life. He WAS married four times, almost five times. Drew sought to control his women. Whether it be what they wore, how much makeup they applied, who they talked to on the phone, who they e-mailed and who they saw. He had to know everything at all times. Was the much older Drew not the confident, self assured police officer he portrayed himself to be? Was he really an insecure, middle aged man who feared the much younger and attractive Stacy would leave him and take half of his assets? Drew Peterson’s ego could not stand for any woman leaving him – and he made it known to more than one person that he wouldn’t give half of his assets to any woman. That was HIS money. He didn’t believe in community property, and there’s no way he was going to share his hard earned pension and other assets with a young attractive woman who could have easily started a new life with someone more age-appropriate and less controlling. I think that thought just ate at him. He avoided the division of property with wife #3 by killing her and making it appear to be an accident. He bragged to Kathleen AND Stacy that he had the knowledge to kill them and make it look like an accident, and he nearly got away with it with Kathleen. His ego unchecked, he has attempted to dispose of Stacy without having to part with his assets and keeping his ego in tact.
Drew Peterson is currently serving his 38 year sentence at the Menard Correctional Center in Illinois. He will be 93 years old at the earliest possible release date, barring any successful appeals he will more than likely never see the light of day again. Does that mean this man should go unpunished or untried for the murder of Stacy Peterson? Will States Attorney James Glasgow pursue new charges against Drew Peterson in connection with his missing and presumed dead 4th wife Stacy? I think if there is any chance to nail him, they will. Peterson isn’t going anywhere anytime in the near future. The problem is, much of what they know or suspect Peterson did is circumstantial and with Stacy’s body never having been recovered, it’s notoriously difficult to prosecute a no-body homicide. Thankfully there is no statute of limitations on murder, however as time ticks away, witnesses forget details or move away and in some cases they die. Time is of essence if they hope to try Peterson for the murder of Stacy. What do police know, and how much of what they know have they shared with the public? I don’t know very much in the way of details, but it seems likely that the best evidence against Drew comes in the form of statements made by his stepbrother Thomas Morphey. Morphey told police he helped Drew carry a large and heavy 55 gallon blue drum/container from his bedroom to Peterson’s SVU right after Stacy’s disappearance. He allegedly has said the container was warm, and it was large enough to hold Stacy’s body. Distraught after the revelation that Stacy was missing, Morphey attempted to kill himself when he realized that he may have inadvertently helped dispose of Stacy’s body. Morphey’s statements were downplayed by Peterson’s defense attorneys, claiming his drug and alcohol problems make him an unreliable witness who should not be believed. Peterson’s longtime friend Rick Mims corroborated the blue container story in that he told police he was with Drew when he purchased 3 such drums from a cable company the two had worked for part time back in 2003.
That blue container has never been recovered. I remember years ago, a news story came on where the police were called to a nearby lake or river after people fishing reported a large blue container floating in the water. They retrieved the container, but it did not contain Stacy’s body. The million dollar question is what did Drew do with the container that may have concealed Stacy’s body? Did he bury it? Did he throw it in some body of water? Seems to me that he must have buried it or disposed of it in a body of water large enough to where it would never be found. Drew had a small airplane. Could he have loaded the barrel in the plane and flown over water and tossed it over? Can Drew be prosecuted without Stacy’s body being found? I certainly hope so. I hate to think that people are rewarded for their skill at concealing a body. But with a purely circumstantial case such as this, and double jeopardy in play, the police are likely taking their time with this case. I don’t believe Stacy’s case has been forgotten. I hope to someday see Stacy’s killer standing trial for her murder.
Drew Peterson is another high profile defendant who courted the media, and then turned around and complained about the pre-trial publicity harming his case. Drew is probably the only person I can think of who could be compared to Jodi Arias in their hunger for media attention before, during and after their trial. While Stacy was missing, Drew Peterson appeared on Larry King Live and publicly proclaimed his innocence and told viewers Stacy had up and left him for another man, taking only her bikini with her. How ridiculous of a notion is that? Stacy would never have left her children behind, and especially not with Drew. Drew often toyed with the numerous reporters who camped out in his front yard. He even pitched the idea of a contest “Win a Date With Drew” to the media. While he was being held in jail awaiting trial, he called radio personality Mancow Muller from jail and suggested a new contest – “Win a Conjugal Visit With Drew”. How disgusting is this man? Peterson ALMOST snared another wife after Stacy’s disappearance. In December of 2008, he announced his engagement to 23 year old Christina Raines in a television interview. Raines at the time believed in Drew’s innocence, but that would change months later when she called off the engagement and moved out of the home he used to share with Stacy in January 2009. Thankfully, Raines family and friends convinced her that she was making a MONUMENTAL and dangerous mistake in trusting Drew Peterson – a man who was married four times, of which one wife died under suspicious circumstances and the other was “missing”. Game over Drew. I have the feeling we have not heard or seen the last of Drew Peterson. He may have disappeared from the spotlight at the insistence of his new attorney(s), but I don’t think his personality will ever let him completely fade into the background. I truly hope to see justice for Stacy Peterson during my lifetime. Her family deserves to know where she is and what happened to her. That’s the only card Drew has left to play.