Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

National and World

September 6, 2012

Jury convicts Drew Peterson of 3rd wife's death

(Continued)

Prosecutors had to establish the most basic fact for a murder trial: that there was actually a murder. Pathologists testified for the defense that Savio's wounds indicated an accident; those testifying for the state said it was impossible for a single fall to cause both the wound on the back of her head and the bruises on the front of her body.

Peterson's lawyers endeavored to cast doubt on the reliability of key witnesses. They accused Savio's sister, Susan Doman, of jazzing up her testimony to profit from a movie and book deal.

Peterson's band of colorful, wisecracking defense attorneys — who joked outside court that Stacy Peterson could show up any day to take the stand — committed their own share of errors.

As they sought to blunt the credibility of hearsay, for instance, they ended up prompting one of their own witnesses to repeatedly emphasize that Stacy Peterson was convinced her husband did kill Savio.

Peterson could still win release someday. His attorneys have said they may appeal all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court on grounds Illinois' hearsay law is unconstitutional.

Some legal experts worried about the precedent a conviction dependent on hearsay would set, saying it could open the floodgates for the admissibility of such evidence in Illinois and elsewhere.

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