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Witness: Former Ill. Cop Threatened to Kill Wife

Witness: Former Ill. Cop Threatened to Kill Wife

Former Bolingbrook, Ill., police sergeant Drew Peterson yells to reporters as he arrives at the Will County Courthouse. (AP Photo)

The AP via YellowBrix

January 19, 2010

JOLIET, Ill. – Former police officer Drew Peterson threw his wife to the floor one night, grabbed her throat and told her he “could kill her there and then,” a one-time co-worker of the wife testified Tuesday at a hearing to determine what evidence can be admitted in Peterson’s murder trial.

Kathleen Savio, Drew Peterson’s third wife, who mysteriously drowned in a bathtub six years ago, essentially is testifying from the grave during the hearing. Witnesses are expected to tell a judge how Savio discussed and wrote about her fears that Peterson, a former Bolingbrook police sergeant, would kill her.

The hearing, projected to last three weeks, is expected to provide the first detailed look at evidence prosecutors contend ties Peterson to Savio’s 2004 death. It stems from a state law that allows a judge to admit hearsay evidence in first-degree murder cases if prosecutors can prove a defendant killed a witness to prevent him or her from testifying.

Issam Karam, who said he worked with Savio at Parkway Imaging in Romeoville in late 2003, testified that Savio told him she had come home one night looking forward to a bath and glass of wine when Peterson threw her to the floor. Savio said the incident occurred after she had changed the locks to the home.

Karam said Peterson grabbed Savio’s throat and had a knife. Savio showed him a bruise on her arm, Karam said.

“(Peterson) said nothing that she could do would make her safe,” Karam said. “She could not run or hide. He could kill her there and then.”

Another witness, Savio’s boss, testified that a number of times a Bolingbrook squad car was parked in front of her Romeoville business while Savio was inside. Lisa Mordente said that on one occasion, Savio was returning from lunch and approached another vehicle parked outside and spoke to a man inside.

“She was very shaken up when she came back in, her hand was shaking, she had tears, she was a mess,” Mordente said.

Mordente also testified that Savio told her it was Peterson outside and they were fighting over money.

Mordente’s testimony highlighted what is sure to be a key part of the trial _ the fact that Peterson was a police officer. His attorneys have raised questions about why witnesses didn’t notify police if they believed Savio feared Peterson.

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