The fate of former Illinois cop Drew Peterson will go to the jury in Joliet, Ill., Wednesday morning, after prosecutors and defense attorneys finished their closing arguments today. Peterson is accused of murdering his third wife, Kathleen Savio.
Defense attorney Joe Lopez pleaded with the jury during his statement to remember that there is no physical evidence tying Peterson to the scene of his wife's death in 2004.
Savio's death was initially ruled an accident after she was found dead in her bathtub. After Peterson's fourth wife, Stacy, disappeared without a trace in 2007, however, police exhumed Savio's body and reexamined it as part of the Stacy Peterson investigation. They then changed the cause of death to homicide and charged Drew Peterson.
He has denied any involvement in Savio's death, and prosecutors admit there is no physical evidence connecting him to the scene of the crime. He has never been charged in connection with Stacy's disappearance.
"There [are] no witnesses or scientific evidence that place Drew at the house. .. They can't even prove that Ms. Savio was the victim of a homicide," Lopez said, according to ABC station WLS-TV. "They're trying to nail Jell-O to a tree -- it's an accident, it's an accident, pure and simple."
"The state has not proved this case beyond a reasonable doubt; this case is riddled with doubt like a piece of Swiss cheese," he said.
Lopez's statement to the jury followed prosecutors' closing statement, in which they asked the jury to use "common sense" when deciding if Peterson killed his wife. They cited hearsay statements by Savio to friends and relatives expressing fear that Peterson would hurt or kill her. They also pointed out that she had had a lock installed on her bedroom door.
Prosecutor Chris Koch told the jury, "When you walked into this courthouse, you did not leave your common sense at the front door. It is clear this man, Drew Peterson, murdered Kathleen Savio," according to WLS.
Prosecutors today reminded the jury that a witness called by the defense admitted that the chance of a healthy adult drowning in a bathtub was "one in a million."
"Drew Peterson had the motive and means to make his third wife, Kathleen Savio's bathtub drowning look like an accident," Koch said.
The prosecution addressed the jury one last time following the defense during its rebuttal period, in which prosecutor James Glasgow argued that the jury should consider their expert witnesses' opinions about Savio's death more seriously than the defense's expert witnesses. Forensic pathologists testified for both sides about Savio's injuries; experts for the prosecution said that her injuries pointed to homicide, while those for the defense said they indicated an accidental fall in the bathtub.
The jurors, who have arrived in court in matching outfits on many days of the trial, did not coordinate their clothing today.
Judge Edward Burmila recessed court today following closing arguments and said he planned to instruct and charge the jury beginning at 9 a.m. Wednesday.
Peterson's attorneys said before court this morning that Peterson is ready, whatever the jury may decide.
"He's a bit anxious but prepared emotionally for whatever happens," attorney Joel Brodsky said.
Drew Peterson, a former Bolingbrook, Ill., police sergeant, faces 60 years in prison if convicted.