Continual coverage of the trial of Drew Peterson for the murder of his third wife, Kathleen Savio.
5 p.m. Testimony to resume Thursday
Testimony has concluded for the day. Court resumes Thursday morning.
4:50 p.m. Doctor assesses Savio's wounds
Dr. Larry Blum said healthy 40-year-old women such as Kathleen Savio don’t drown accidentally in bathtubs unless they’re drunk, drugged or diseased, and Savio was none of those.
He also testified about the various wounds he found on Savio’s body.
Savio had fresh wounds on her right hand and buttock that were suffered no more than one hour before her death, Blum testified.
Blum said bruises on her shins were no more than 24 hours old at the time of her death. He described the bruises as down to the bone and caused by a great amount of force.
Blum also said there were no concentrated edges on Savio’s tub that could have caused the laceration on her head.
3:45 p.m. Judge jokes about blowing brains out
After prosecutors allegedly continued to ignore his rulings in the Drew Peterson murder trial, the frustrated judge presiding over the case joked about feeling like blowing his brains out.
Judge Edward Burmila recalled practicing as an attorney before now-deceased Judge Angelo Pistilli. Courtroom 407 at the Will County courthouse in Joliet — where the Peterson trial is being heard — is named after Pistilli.
"Before he would reach a ruling…he would say, ‘Or in the alternative, I guess there’s nothing left to do but for me to blow my brains out,’" Burmila said. "I’ve never really understood what he meant by that. But the public display of the state’s obvious disregard for the orders of this court is replete in the record."
3:30 p.m. 'You are not a potted plant'
For the second time today, Judge Edward Burmila castigated prosecutors for continuing to ignore his orders.
Dr. Larry Blum testified that he crawled into the bathtub in Kathleen Savio's bathroom even though Burmila had banned any testimony from him about that subject.
Defense attorney Ralph Meczyk asked that the testimony of Dr. Blum — a critical prosecution witness — be stricken. He said that the prosecutors have repeatedly flaunted the court's orders.
"With all due respect to the court…you are not a potted plant," Meczyk said.
State's Atty. James Glasgow apologized to the judge and said it was a mistake by the witness. He admitted he also slipped up after being on his feet questioning Blum for more than an hour
"I was getting a little woozy and I was trying to pay attention to what he was saying…again we were not getting toward a recreation (of the drowning)," Glasgow said.
Burmila opted to instruct jurors to disregard the statement but warned prosecutors that he did not want again to address any more violations of his orders.
"Yesterday it was a brain cramp; today it is wooziness," Burmila scoffed. "The circumstances …are creating the aura that this court is somehow toothless and there’s no consequence other than ignoring the orders I have entered.
"The disrespect for the court in that regard is shocking to the conscience."
3:05 p.m. Judge chastises prosecution again
Moments after Dr. Larry Blum testified that he climbed into Kathleen Savio’s tub — a statement that Judge Edward Burmila had previously banned — the judge again chastised prosecutors for failing to follow his orders.
"It doesn’t appear that any of the orders that I have entered in this case has the state paid any attention to," he said.
He then granted a defense request for a break, presumably to discuss whether to again ask for sanctions against the state.
Drew Peterson this morning withdrew a request for a mistrial — the third mistrial motion in three weeks that Burmila has seriously considered — after a prosecutor asked a witness a forbidden question.
3 p.m. Doctor climbed into Savio's tub
Dr. Larry Blum testifiedthat he visited Kathleen Savio’s Bolingbrook master bathroom on Nov. 20, 2007, a week after performing the second autopsy on her body after it was exhumed.
He said he felt it was extremely important to see where Savio died himself. Blum testified that he even crawled into the tub with his clothes on.
"I felt the two biggest pieces of evidence in this case are one the body and two the tub," he said.
He first answered questions about what he observed in crime scene photographs — which are being displayed for jurors on a screen in the courtroom — taken in 2004 when Savio died.
Prosecutors zoomed in on a photo and asked about the positioning of Savio’s right foot — which they have argued is a sign of a struggle.
"What stands out in this photograph is the very sharp angle that the toes are in, in relationship to the rest of her foot. These are virtually 90-degree angles…These toes on her right foot are extremely extended or bent back."
Blum said he doesn’t believe her foot would be positioned that way in an accidental drowning.
"In the context of this case for a foot to just float down after a loss of conscious or just passively get into that position I don’t believe could physically do that," he said.
Prosecutors have argued her foot positioning suggests she was struggling in the tub when she died.
2:35 p.m. No toxins in Savio's system
Dr. Larry Blum has spent much of the afternoon assessing the 2004 Kathleen Savio autopsy and talking about how no toxins were found in her system that might have caused her to pass out and drown.
Blum, a forensic pathologist, is considered a key witness for prosecutors, who are trying to prove Savio’s death was a murder, not an accident.
Blum performed the second autopsy on Savio in 2007 and found that her death was a homicide based on the pattern of injuries on her body.
Savio’s death was treated as an accident until Drew Peterson’s fourth wife, Stacy, vanished in 2007. Savio’s body was exhumed not long after.
1:40 p.m. Doctor who did '07 autopsy to testify
Testimony from former Bolingbrook police Lt. Teresa Kernc has concluded.
Next up is Dr. Larry Blum, who performed an autopsy on Kathleen Savio after her body was exhumed in 2007. He determined her drowning was a homicide. Her death was ruled an accident in 2004.
12:05 p.m. Lunch break
The judge has called a recess until 1:15 p.m. Former Bolingbrook police Lt. Teresa Kernc will resume her testimony after lunch.
11:35 a.m. Attorneys argue hearsay evidence
Testimony has been halted while attorneys are arguing hearsay evidence before the judge.
10:50 a.m. Defense questions Savio's motive
Former Bolingbrook police Lt. Teresa Kernc testified that Savio told her she had been served with a summons for a battery case filed by Drew Peterson and that she complained about it repeatedly during their conversation.
According to a report she filed about the interview, Kernc wrote that Savio "mentioned that he filed two battery charges against her and both were pending. She feared that she would lose the children and wanted him to stop filing battery charges against her," the report stated.
Kernc said she also wrote that Savio complained that the charges also hampered her ability to get a job at a hospital and she just wanted to get a divorce and move away.
Kernc said she did not recall Savio telling her she had received the battery summons earlier the same day she had filed the report about the Peterson's alleged attack.
Defense attorney Steve Greenberg, in an apparent attempt to show jurors that Savio's allegations were nothing more than an effort to retaliate against her husband, introduced Kernc's testimony from a 2010 hearing in which she testified that Savio's complaints were filed the same day the battery charges were lodged against her.
10:20 a.m. 'We were never friends'
Former Bolingbrook police Lt. Teresa Kernc testified on cross-examination that she was not close to the defendant.
"It would be a fair statement that we were never friends, but we were co-workers," she said when asked if she disliked Drew Peterson.
She said that Kathleen Savio did not want her to file a police report about the July 5 incident, where Peterson allegedly threatened Savio with a knife.
Kernc also said she was unaware that a week before Savio told her about the alleged attack, she called Bolingbrook police to complain about a visitation dispute with Peterson and never mentioned the attack to officers at that time.
10:05 a.m. 'She didn't want him to be arrested'
Testimony from former Bolingbrook police Lt. Teresa Kernc resumed this morning.
She testified that after Kathleen Savio told her about the alleged attack on July 5, 2002, Savio wrote out a handwritten copy of her statement, but then crossed out any mention of Drew Peterson's use of a knife.
"She said specifically that she did not want him to lose his job, she didn't want him to be arrested," Kernc said.
10 a.m. Jury told to ignore attorney question
Judge Edward Burmila instructed the jury that Kathleen Savio did not seek an order of protection after the alleged incident in 2002.
"The state's attorney violated an order of the court that they not present this issue to the jury," Burmila said.
He ordered them not to consider the mention of an order of protection for any purpose, but said it was their decision what weight to give to the testimony from former Bolingbrook police Lt. Teresa Kernc "in light of this deviation from the rules."
It was during question of Kernc Tuesday that the prosecution mentioned an order of protection, halting the trial while Burmila considered a mistrial.
Burmila read a stipulation to the jury crafted by both sides stating that "Kathleen Savio did not seek an order of protection regarding the July 5, 2002, incident."
With the jury outside the courtroom, defense attorney Joseph Lopez explained the decision to withdraw the motion for a mistrial, telling the court that Peterson "does not want to hide behind any legal technicalities.
"Drew Peterson wants the world to know he's not afraid nor will he hide."
Testimony from Kernc, which was halted Tuesday, has now resumed.
9:40 a.m. Judge to issue instruction to jury
Judge Edward Burmila denied the defense request to strike all hearsay testimony, and will issue a "curative instruction" to jurors regarding the state's misstep on Tuesday.
It is unclear exactly what that instruction will say, though Burmila hinted it would be harsh.
Both sides said they will work on a stipulation stating that no order of protection was sought as a result of the 2002 incident where Drew Peterson allegedly threatened Kathleen Savio with a knife.
Court recessed for a few minutes to allow the parties to finalize the stipulation, which is something the defense wanted in order to remove any question in the minds of jurors about whether Savio obtained an order of protection after the 2002 incident.
9:30 a.m. Peterson addresses judge
Instead of declaring a mistrial, attorney Joe Lopez said the defense wants Judge Edward Burmila to "strike all the hearsay testimony that has been admitted" and bar further hearsay testimony.
The judge then asked Drew Peterson to stand and answer whether he had discussed the decision to withdraw the motion for mistrial, that he agreed with the decision and understood that he could not use the issue on appeal.
"Yes, your honor," Peterson replied.
9:20 a.m. Defense withdraws mistrial motion
In court, defense attorneys withdrew their motion for a mistrial.
Drew Peterson wants this jury to hear this trial, his attorney Joe Lopez said.
He also asks that the state stop introducing barred testimony, Lopez said.
9:15 a.m. Defense plans to withdraw mistrial motion
Peterson attorney Darryl Goldberg said on the way into the courtroom that the defense intends to withdraw its motion for mistrial with prejudice, confirming rumors around the courthouse.
9 a.m. Witness list for Wednesday
If the trial continues, jurors are expected to hear further testimony from former Bolingbrook Police Lt. Teresa Kernc.
Following Kernc, other witnesses slated to testify are forensic pathologist Larry Blum, Stacy Peterson's friend Scott Rossetto and Kathleen Savio's physician, Dr. Vinod Motiani.
On Tuesday, Kernc told jurors about interviewing Savio in 2002 after Peterson allegedly broke into Savio's home in a SWAT uniform and repeatedly pushed her to the ground.
At one point, Savio allegedly told Peterson, "Go ahead and do what you came to do: Kill me," Kernc testified.
"He said, 'Where do you want it?' And she said, 'In the head.' " Kernc testified.
Peterson then allegedly told Savio to turn her head, which Savio did, Kernc said, based on what Savio told her.
"And then he said, 'I can't kill you,' " she told jurors. Peterson then threw a garage opener to the ground and left.
8:50 a.m. Former Blago lawyer shows up at court
Attorney Sam Adam Jr. showed up at the Will County courthouse this morning.
Adam had been recruited for Peterson's defense team two years ago, but turned it down.
6:40 a.m. Ruling expected on mistrial
The judge in Drew Peterson's murder trial is expected to rule on whether to declare a mistrial in the highly-publicized case after a prosecutor asked a forbidden question amid testimony about an alleged knife-point incident involving Peterson and his estranged wife.
Will County Judge Edward Burmila is weighing whether to declare a mistrial, strike testimony or issue a special instruction to the jurors. He is expected to rule today, following a rare display of self-flagellation by a prosecutor during a high-profile case.
"Judge, that was my fault. I don't know what else to say," said Assistant State's Atty. Kathleen Patton, who offered a string of apologies in a voice sometimes choked with emotion.
Patton's misstep came about 10 minutes into her questioning of retired Bolingbrook police Lt. Teresa Kernc, who offered a dramatic account of an alleged 2002 attack by Peterson at the home he owned with his third wife, Kathleen Savio.
Kernc recounted Savio's account of being surprised by Peterson, dressed in his black SWAT uniform, while carrying Savio's basket of laundry down the stairs.
At least three other witnesses also have testified about the alleged incident, but Kernc's account has been the most detailed.
It started when Peterson allegedly shoved Savio down on the staircase.
"When she tried to rise, he pushed her down again," Kernc said. "He told her she was a mean bitch, she wouldn't speak to him when he called, wouldn't speak to him when he brought the boys over, and he was going to speak to her now."
Peterson allegedly kept Savio there for three hours, blaming her for their failed marriage, Kernc said.Copyright © 2015, RedEye