But some people believe that Peterson enjoys the attention, joking with the media and the public and holding impromptu news conferences.
"I think dealing with them, in such a manner of humor, was the way I was able to cope with it all," he admitted. "It's kind of comical. I have fun with it. I'll go out somewhere and I'll be recognized and it's just like, I think my, my personality's gone from sinister to celebrity."
But Illinois state prosecutors aren't laughing, and they say they expect to resolve their investigation soon.
Before becoming a suspect in a homicide and a household name, Peterson was an undercover police officer in Bolingbrook and a father of four.
"I was undercover actually for a total of five years," Peterson said. "You basically spent your day working a con and you were getting people to believe you were something other than what you actually were and it was fun. It was exhilarating. I think the most sadistic fun you had in the whole part of the job, the look on people's faces when you arrested them and they found out you were actually a [policeman]."
Peterson married high school sweetheart Carol at the age of 20. They had two sons but the union collapsed after he admitted to numerous affairs.
"I'm a grown man," he said. "I can do right and wrong but I was so attracted to the attention of these women that I just succumbed to it."
Two years later, he was back at the altar but was unfaithful to his second wife, as well.
"The big joke at one particular time was you had to lie to your girlfriend to see your wife," he said. "That's how crazy it was."
Marriage No. 2 went the way of the first and both women have said Peterson was domineering and unfaithful. He was still married to his second wife when he began dating Savio.
Although she was 10 years younger than Peterson, it appeared that he'd met his match. But the union was short-lived and toward the end of their relationship, the police were called to the house on 18 separate occasions.
"I was a smart ass," Peterson said. "She'd get mad at me for something. She'd be going off on a rampage and instead of calming her down ... [I] would set her off even worse."
By the late 1990s, Peterson was already cheating on his third wife. As bitter divorce proceedings with Savio were finalized in 2002, she wrote to Illinois Assistant State's Attorney Elizabeth Fragale, expressing fears that her estranged husband might kill her. But Peterson seemed more interested in his latest girlfriend, a young hotel receptionist.
"I said, 'let's you and I just go out' and she said, 'OK, that's fine,'" Peterson recalled. "I said, 'Do you mind that I am 47 years old?' and she goes, 'Oh, no, do you mind that I am 17?'
"I thought she was in her mid 20s or something like that," he said, laughing. "And I real quick looked through my law books to see if that was kosher, and the age of consent in the state of Illinois is 17 and the relationship developed and we started going out. We got a lot of looks at the time and [there was] a lot of controversy over our relationship."
They were married within the year. Soon after, Peterson says, he discovered Savio's body in her home after she didn't return his phone calls.