Condemned From Beyond: Proving ‘Drew’s Law’

By David Schoetz

Feb 22, 2010 5:39pm

We're planning a substantive update from Martin Bashir tonight about the Drew Peterson case, now at the end an unusually action-packed pre-trial hearing phase in Illinois. You may remember Martin's interview with the cop-turned-accused-wife killer before he, already a suspect in his fourth wife Stacy Peterson's disappearance, was indicted for murder in the death of his third wife, Kathleen Savio. For those who don't, the entire episode is embedded at the bottom of the blog. Here is some useful background from the AP that explains the case the prosecution must build and what some are calling "Drew's Law." The former Bolingbrook police sergeant is charged with Savio's death, but no charges have been filed in Stacy Peterson's disappearance. Friday's closing statements marked the first time they said outright they believe he killed Stacy Peterson. The unprecedented hearing is easily the most extensive use of a state law allowing a judge to admit hearsay evidence in first-degree murder cases if prosecutors can prove a defendant may have killed a witness to prevent him or her from testifying. The law was passed after authorities named Peterson a suspect in the 2007 disappearance of his fourth wife, Stacy, then exhumed Savio's body and reopened her death investigation. The statements that prosecutors want Judge Stephen White to admit as testimony are those in which the women allegedly expressed to friends and family that they were afraid Peterson would kill them. White must now decide whether there is enough evidence to proceed with the murder trial. Also under consideration is the testimony of three pathologists — all of whom agree that Savio drowned, but only two of whom believe it was a homicide. Peterson steadfastly maintains his innocence in the two cases, both of which lack any physical evidence connecting him to a crime. Here's Martin's write-up – and last night's segment.

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