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« Reply #60 on: October 01, 2010, 03:42:50 PM »

Judge dismisses Drew Peterson weapons charge

JOLIET, Ill. –  A judge has dismissed a felony weapons charge against former suburban Chicago police officer Drew Peterson.

Peterson was charged with possession of an illegal firearm after authorities learned he gave a short-barreled rifle to his son for safe keeping.

Peterson is awaiting trial in the 2004 death of his third wife Kathleen Savio. He is also a suspect in the 2007 of his fourth wife Stacy Peterson. He has denied wrongdoing.

At Friday's hearing, Will County Judge Richard Schoenstedt said prosecutors didn't show that Peterson couldn't own the weapon that was seized in November 2007. It is the second time the judge has thrown out the charge.

Defense attorney Joel Brodsky says it was the right decision to make.


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« Reply #61 on: February 15, 2011, 01:49:57 PM »

Will Drew Peterson's wives speak from the grave?

By Beth Karas,

(CNN) -- Drew Peterson's lawyers go to court on Wednesday for a hearing that could have a profound effect on the murder case against him.

At issue: whether the jury can consider statements two of his wives made about him to others. One of them, his ex, is dead and the other is missing and presumed dead.

Peterson, a former police sergeant from Bolingbrook, Illinois, is accused of killing his third wife, Kathleen Savio, in 2004 and remains under investigation in the October 2007 disappearance of his fourth wife, Stacy Peterson.

Prosecutors are asking the appeals court for Illinois' 3rd Judicial District to review a lower court's ruling last summer limiting the hearsay evidence the jury can hear at Peterson's trial. Peterson has been in custody at the Will County Jail since May 2009, when he was charged with the murder of Savio, who was found dead in her bathtub five years earlier.

Since Savio is dead and Stacy Peterson is missing, the defense argues that using their statements to family and friends violates Peterson's Sixth Amendment right to confront the witnesses against him.

In general, hearsay statements made to third parties cannot be introduced at trial unless a defendant can cross-examine the person who made them. There are some exceptions if prosecutors can prove the statement is reliable. But a new Illinois law, which some call "Drew's Law," goes beyond those exceptions.

The law, passed while investigators were looking for Stacy Peterson in 2008, allows courts to consider statements from "unavailable witnesses," provided prosecutors can prove the witness was killed to prevent his or her testimony.

More than 70 witnesses testified early last year at the Peterson hearsay hearing, which resembled a minitrial. The testimony centered on 15 statements Peterson's wives made to others, sometimes expressing fear for their lives.

According to testimony by Savio's sister, Susan Doman, Peterson told Savio that he could kill her and make it look like an accident. Another sister, Anna Doman, claimed Peterson told Savio that she would not make it to the divorce settlement.

Stacy Peterson's pastor, Neil Schori, also testified at the hearing. He said Stacy, who was living with Drew Peterson when Savio died, told him she saw Peterson return home in early the morning Savio died. He was dressed in black and carried a bag of women's clothes that were not hers.

In determining whether any of those statements can be used at trial, Judge Stephen White found after the 2010 hearing it was likely that Peterson murdered Savio and Stacy Peterson. The judge then found fewer than half the 15 statements prosecutors wanted to use were admissible under the new law.

His written decision remains under court seal. Details about which statements are permitted are not yet in the public record, although they are likely to be revealed in court during the arguments on Wednesday.

Stacy Peterson's disappearance in October 2007 renewed investigators' interest in Savio's death, which initially was ruled an accident. Peterson married Stacy Cales, then 19, just eight days after his divorce from Savio.

Savio had been divorced from Peterson for about five months when she died, although the court was still deciding how their marital assets would be divided. Savio was to receive part of Peterson's pension and other support.

Peterson maintains that Savio's death was an accident, as the original ruling indicated, and he denies he had anything to do with it. He also denies having killed Stacy Peterson.

Will County State's Attorney James Glasgow argues in his appeal that the judge should have also considered whether the statements were admissible under a common law doctrine known as "forfeiture by wrongdoing."

The doctrine is part of the federal rules of evidence. Forfeiture by wrongdoing does not require a finding of reliability. Basically, it means that a defendant cannot kill a witness and keep damaging evidence out a trial by arguing that he's lost the right to cross-examine that witness.

Trials in Illinois and elsewhere have used "voices from the grave" to obtain murder convictions.

A month after the lower court ruling barring some of the statements damaging to Peterson, the Illinois Supreme Court issued an opinion in an unrelated case, People v. Hanson. The court upheld convictions in a quadruple murder case which relied, in part, on statements from one of the murder victims.

The Illinois Supreme Court expressly recognized that the doctrine of forfeiture by wrongdoing serves as an exception to the hearsay rule and precludes an argument about right of confrontation guaranteed in the Sixth Amendment.

"Drew's Law" did not apply in Hanson because the trial occurred before the law existed.

In a 2008 Wisconsin case, Mark Jensen was convicted of murdering his wife. The trial judge permitted the jury to read a letter the wife wrote days before her death asking that the police investigate her husband in the event she died.

Peterson's attorneys argue that the new law supersedes the doctrine of forfeiture by wrongdoing.

The new law requires that the judge determine if a statement is reliable. White found that several were not reliable. To fall back now on the less strict doctrine of forfeiture by wrongdoing is to disregard the legislature's intent, Peterson's attorneys say. They also maintain that none of the statements should be used against Peterson because "Drew's Law" is unconstitional.

Peterson's trial is on hold, awaiting the outcome of the appeal. Stacy Peterson has never been found. Peterson says she ran off with another man.

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« Reply #62 on: March 21, 2011, 09:42:20 PM »

After everything, Drew Peterson's son is valedictorian

Thomas Peterson, 18, has maintained a GPA above 4.0 and has his sights set on the nation's top colleges.
Alone in the public library in Bolingbrook, Tom Peterson scanned the rows of books when one piqued his interest — a book about stress.

Inside was a stress calculator that listed questions about life experiences and rated the responses. Out of curiosity, the oldest son of Kathleen Savio and Drew Peterson began to answer: Are your parents divorced? Check. Have you lost a parent? Check. He continued through the quiz and tallied his answers.

The results astonished him. His stress level, according to the book, was off the chart.

"I looked at it and I said, 'Wow,' and I giggled a little bit," Peterson, 18, recalled. "I felt like, 'Wow, I must be a wreck right now. I must be an emotional disaster,' you know?"

On the contrary, the lanky, sandy-haired teen will graduate as valedictorian from Bolingbrook High School in June. He is first in a class of 817 students, with a 4.808 GPA, and has his sights set on Harvard, Boston University, UCLA and Northwestern — to name a few — to study neuroscience. His classmates voted him most likely to succeed.

His achievements are all the more remarkable considering his freshman year was just beginning when Stacy Peterson, his father's fourth wife, disappeared.

The national media and legal firestorm that erupted after that October 2007 day filled the streets in front of his home with TV trucks for weeks and sent state police searching for evidence through the family's two-story home.

Tom and his younger brother Kristopher, now 16, scrambled through backyards and side streets to avoid the hordes of cameras, journalists and onlookers. They barricaded themselves in their home when the TV lights flashed on. They watched as their father sorted through piles of hate mail.

Tom Peterson has stood by his father, who is accused of killing Tom's mother and is the prime suspect in Stacy Peterson's disappearance. Drew Peterson, a former Bolingbrook police sergeant, is in a jail cell awaiting trial on charges he murdered Savio in 2004, just weeks before the couple's divorce proceedings were to be finalized. Attorneys from both sides are awaiting an appeals court ruling before a trial date can be set.

Through it all — his father's arrests, the court dates, the tabloid stories — Tom Peterson churned out "A" after "A" in the classroom. He excelled in music, earning spots in the high school jazz band and wind symphony, and in sports, playing for the varsity tennis team.

During a recent interview, he curled up on the sofa in his basement — which he calls his domain in a household of three brothers and a sister from three of his father's four marriages — to talk about the difficulties and successes of his life. His oldest brother, Stephen, 31, takes care of the kids.

"I realized I have one life so I'm just going to make it worth it, you know?" he said.

It's an attitude he adopted after suffering through one of life's harshest lessons. Tom Peterson was 11 when his mom was found dead in an empty bathtub at their Bolingbrook home.

"After she died, it was by far the worst moment in my life," he said, adding he believes his mom died in an accidental drowning. "I realized life was not the fairy tale I thought it was. So, after that, nothing really seemed to affect me emotionally, I guess. That's, honestly, how I'm getting through all this, just because nothing could have been worse than that."

After his mom's death, he thought a lot about life: "I thought about a lot of stuff growing up, like reasons for why things happen or just the frailty of life, I guess. I realized that at an early age."

About that time, he said, he recognized he was gifted. He can pinpoint the moment: sixth grade, and he'd just scored an "A" on a math test. A classmate, he said, turned to him and exclaimed, "Wow, Tom, you're so smart!"

"I said, 'Wait a second, I guess I am!'" he said. "After that, I said I'm going to just push the limits and excel in everything."

Those close to Tom Peterson say the tragedies in his life only drove him to buckle down and work harder.

Bolingbrook High School Principal James Mitchem, who lives two doors from the Petersons and took Tom Peterson into his home for a semester after Drew Peterson's arrest, said the boy's intelligence was apparent from an early age. But it wasn't until high school that he really began to pull away academically from the other kids, including Mitchem's son, Kevin, who is an honors student and Tom Peterson's best friend.

"He's been a very focused young man. He has somehow been able to separate himself from the chaos," Mitchem said. "I've been pretty amazed at how well he has been able to cope with the things that have gone on around him."

Peterson said he constantly sets and accomplishes goals. For example, on New Year's Eve in 2009, upset that a girl he liked was not returning his attention, he wrote out a list of goals to accomplish that year. On it included running a marathon, and running it faster than a friend had the year before.

In October, he completed the Chicago Marathon in 4 hours and 50 seconds — beating his friend by two hours. And that girl? She was also on the list. She's now his girlfriend.

"Whatever he's a part of, he's always pushed himself to be the best that he can be," said Kevin Mitchem, 17. "He's always had that drive."

Peterson steadfastly proclaims his father's innocence. After he turned 18, he asked to be released from a wrongful-death lawsuit filed against his father on his behalf by relatives of his mother. He credits his father with teaching him old-fashioned discipline.

Drew Peterson, who answered questions from jail through his attorney, Joel Brodsky, said his parenting approach was, "If you handle it, I don't have to get involved."

During the interview with Tom Peterson, Drew Peterson, 57, called from jail. At the end of the brief conversation, the son told his father, "I love you. I miss you."

Peterson is saddened that his father, who has missed all of his senior year in high school, most likely will miss his graduation as well.

"It seems like another family member I'm losing," he said.

He stops short of calling his father a role model.

"I wouldn't say role model, with the things he's been involved with, but he's definitely a large … presence," Peterson said.

That presence of Drew Peterson — who thrived on the publicity surrounding the cases of his wives — loomed large in his son's life: the TV and radio interviews, media stunts and his father's revolving door of much younger girlfriends.

In his father's absence, Peterson has gained independence, however prematurely, and found his own voice.

"Him going away was very disappointing, but I feel like if he came back I'd have to have a stern talk with him about the things that he's doing because he's really kind of lost in his ego, I want to say. I'm not going to lie," Peterson said. "'Dad, you do not need to talk to these people right now. You need to stay home and take care of your family.'"

On most days, Peterson is too busy with his schoolwork, and gets too little sleep. Time management is an area he struggles with, he said.

But he doesn't expect to lack for motivation ever. He only has to think about his mom to be inspired.

Just days before she died, he interviewed her for a school assignment about role models.

"It was in elementary school, we were doing a biography and I chose my mother," he said. "I explored where she was born, where she went to school, her favorite subjects. At the end, I said, 'Is there anything you'd like to add that I haven't asked you?'"

She told him: "Life is long and hard, but if you work hard enough for it, you'll master it. Never give up, and always believe in yourself and what you believe in."

"Now I'm looking back on it, I thought, 'Wow, I can really contribute a lot. She really did push me to be the best that I could be," he said.

He keeps her words in a binder next to his bed.,0,5591520,full.story


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« Reply #63 on: July 26, 2011, 11:45:46 PM »

Court Upholds Hearsay Limit in Drew Peterson Trial

A state appellate court on Tuesday upheld a judge's ruling that disallowed some hearsay -- or second hand -- evidence from being used against Drew Peterson, a blow to prosecutors who have not revealed any physical evidence linking the former police sergeant to his ex-wife's death.

A panel of the Third District Appellate Court in suburban Ottawa said in its ruling that the only way it could overrule now-retired Will County Judge Stephen White was if it found that the judge had abused his discretion.

But the panel found that White's ruling was reasonable.

While prosecutors have never said what if any physical evidence they have against Peterson in the 2004 drowning death of Kathleen Savio, they made it clear last July on the day before jury selection was to begin when they announced they'd delay the trial by appealing the judge's decision that it was crucial to their case.

While Will County State's Attorney James Glasgow said that prosecutors were "very confident in our case," the hearsay hearing also underscored some major problems.

There was, for example, testimony that Savio's death was originally ruled an accident, as well as admissions by police investigators and an evidence technician that not a single fingerprint or any other physical evidence linking Peterson to the death was ever collected.

Glasgow's office did not immediately return a call for comment. But one of Peterson's attorneys said the ruling can only be viewed as devastating to prosecutors.

"The reason they appealed is they said the rulings (by Judge White) prevents them from presenting their case," said Joel Brodsky. "The state's case is weak as it always was."

And Steve Greenberg, who argued on Peterson's behalf before the appellate court said the ruling was a "total" victory.

"They (the judges) didn't buy a single one of the state's arguments," he said.

In fact, he said that not only did the judges rule that prosecutors did not file their appeal soon enough, but that the judges agreed with White that prosecutors should not be allowed to admit various statements from several people, including Savio and Stacy Peterson, Drew Peterson's fourth wife who disappeared in 2007.

Further, the judges ruled White was correct to rule against allowing evidence of some alleged offenses by Peterson prior to Savio's death because it "would unfairly prejudice the defendant."

That could prove particularly damaging to the prosecutors' case against Peterson, said David Erickson, a former judge and professor at Chicago-Kent College of Law.

"They wouldn't have g one after proof of other crimes if they didn't need it," he said.

Erickson said the hearsay evidence would have been particularly important in a case that appears to be absent any direct evidence against Peterson.

"They're trying to create a big circle around this guy that shows he's the only guy who could have done this," he said. "Any loss in that kind of case is going to leave a big hole in that circle."

The ruling was particularly frustrating to Savio's family, who has been trying to convince authorities since shortly after Savio's death that she did not simply drown accidentally.

"It's just very upsetting that we tried to give all this information to everybody years ago," right after Savio was found dead, said Melissa marie Doman of Romeoville, Savio's niece. "And nobody wanted to hear it."

Doman said that if prosecutors have more evidence against Peterson, she does not know what it is.

"Depending on what prosecutors have, they might be back to square one, which I hope not," she said.

Just what hearsay evidence White did not allow has never been revealed and the court, in its ruling, would not disclose it either.

But during the hearsay hearing last year, witnesses testified before White about statements Savio made about being afraid of Peterson and that she'd told them that Peterson said he could kill them and make it look like an accident.

Friends of Stacy Peterson, who disappeared in 2007 and is presumed dead by authorities, said that she made similar statements to them. Drew Peterson has never been charged in Stacy Peterson's disappearance but authorities have said he is a suspect.

Peterson has denied his involvement in both Savio's death and Stacy Peterson's disappearance.

Brodsky said that the ruling clears the way for a trial within the next few months, unless Glasgow's office appeals Tuesday's ruling.


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« Reply #64 on: September 06, 2012, 07:59:14 PM »

Drew Peterson guilty of murder in ex-wife's death

(CNN) -- An Illinois jury on Thursday found former Chicago-area police sergeant Drew Peterson guilty of murder in the 2004 death of his ex-wife.

The jury of seven men and five women deliberated for nearly 14 hours total before delivering its verdict convicting Peterson in the death of his third wife, Kathleen Savio.

"Finally somebody heard Kathleen's cry," her mother, Marcia Savio, told reporters after the verdict. "Twelve people did the right thing, oh thank God."

Savio was found dead in her dry, clean bathtub on March 1, 2004.

While prosecutors claimed Peterson killed Savio, the defense contended that she fell, hit her head and drowned.

The headline-grabbing case did not arise until after Peterson's fourth wife, Stacy, disappeared in October 2007. It was during the search for Stacy Peterson -- who has not been found -- that investigators said they would look again into Savio's death, which was initially ruled an accidental drowning.

In February 2008, authorities altered their judgment and ruled Savio's death a homicide. Peterson was later arrested and charged with first-degree murder.

Peterson was married to Savio in 2001 when he had an affair with then-17-year-old Stacy Cales, who later became his fourth wife. Savio and Peterson filed for divorce in October 2001 and their relationship remained contentious for the next several years.

Bolingbrook, Illinois, police records indicate officers were called to Savio's home 18 times to intervene in domestic fights from 2002 to 2004. Peterson had Savio arrested twice for domestic violence, though she was found not guilty in both cases.

On February 27, 2004, Peterson picked up his two sons from Savio's home and spent the next two days with them. Prosecutors said he entered her home again early on February 29 and killed her.

At the time of her death, a court was mulling how the couple's marital assets would be divided, and Savio was set to receive part of Peterson's pension and other support.

"We have left-front injuries, left-side injuries, left-back injuries, right injuries, right and left injuries," prosecutor Chris Koch said in his closing argument, disputing the defense assertion Savio's death was an accident. "So it's not just one side of her body; it's multiple sides, four sides.

"How can you get that in one fall? You can't. You can't do it. It's not possible."

The jury released a statement, read outside the Joliet courthouse by Will County Sheriff's Office Deputy Ken Kaupas, in which they thanked the judge, bailiffs and sheriff's office and said they took their responsibility seriously.

"We have reached a decision we believe is just," the jurors said.

The more-than-monthlong trial was marked by repeated missteps by the prosecution that angered Judge Edward Burmila and the defense.

At least four times, prosecutors allowed witnesses to testify to details Burmila had told them not to go into -- such as whether Savio had a protective order against her husband or allowing a witness to demonstrate climbing into a bathtub.

In some cases the defense sought a mistrial and in others they asked the judge to strike entire testimony. Burmila instead ordered the jury to disregard elements of the testimony that went against his orders.

"The disrespect to the court is shocking," Burmila told the prosecution last week.

On Thursday, Will County State's Attorney James Glasgow expressed confidence the conviction, which he called "very sobering," will stand up against appeal.

"We took him on and we won," he said of Peterson, whom he called "a coward and a bully."

"This defendant brutally killed Kathleen Savio."

HLN: Critical moments in the Drew Peterson trial

After Thursday's verdict, Peterson's defense team stood by their client and promised to continue their fight on his behalf. Lawyer Joel Brodsky contended there was a large amount of bias against Peterson before the trial even began.

"He is absolutely innocent," Brodsky said of Peterson, claiming the prosecution's case "was based almost entirely on hearsay." He called Savio's death "a household accident."

The Savio family, though, didn't hide their contempt for what the victim's brother, Nick, called Peterson's "clown defense team who made fun of this whole trial."

Nick Savio called Thursday's verdict "bittersweet," describing the jury's decision as "fantastic" while also lamenting it wouldn't bring back his sister. He added that his family wants Drew Peterson to next be held responsible for whatever happened to Stacy Peterson.

"Although we cannot have Kathleen back, we hope she can now rest in peace and that she knows she has had her day," Nick Savio said, reading out a statement from family. "She will be missed and remembered in our hearts always.

"Stacy, you are now next for justice."

Cassandra Cales, Stacy Peterson's sister, said she hopes the verdict will spur someone to come forward "who knows something about my sister, (because) they feel safe to talk now."

While she says she is still trying to process the import of the jury's decision, Cales said one thought went through her mind immediately after hearing it: "Game over, Drew."


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« Reply #65 on: September 07, 2012, 04:55:16 PM »

Hearsay evidence proves crucial in Drew Peterson's conviction

By Moni Basu

(CNN) -- Stacy Peterson disappeared five years ago, but the suspicions and fears she harbored about her husband haunted his murder trial and proved crucial in his conviction.

Her words came to life through two crucial witnesses who conveyed Stacy's remarks to jurors. That's hearsay evidence, or what one person tells another outside a courtroom setting.

The allowance of that evidence could possibly form the basis of an appeal by attorneys for former suburban Chicago police Sgt. Drew Peterson, 56, who was found guilty Thursday of the 2004 killing of ex-wife Kathleen Savio.

Stacy Peterson's words and her husband's conviction could also mean that he could face a new murder trial -- this time for the death of Stacy herself.

"Stacy, you are now next for justice," Savio's brother Nick Savio said after the verdict was read.

Savio was Peterson's third wife; Stacy, his fourth.

Stacy vanished in October 2007, but her body has never been found. She left three children behind at home, and her family believes she was killed.

But before Peterson can be charged again, prosecutors would have to prove that Stacy is dead and then that she was murdered.

"The longer someone is gone, the easier it is to prove they haven't just run away and that they are deceased," said James Glasgow, the prosecutor in Will County, southwest of Chicago.

"October 28, 2007, is in our rearview mirror now," he said. "We are going to look at that case and assess it as it stands today, and if we feel confident in going forward, we will be doing so."

Peterson once fueled outrage in the media with his brash behavior and flippant remarks about his wife's disappearance. But Thursday, he sat stone-faced in court as the verdict was read and returned to his jail cell as a murderer with little public sympathy.

His case, however, could live on in the court system for years.

Critical moments from the Drew Peterson trial

"You know what they say, a conviction is a first step in a successful appeal," said Joel Brodsky, Peterson's lawyer.

"Believe me, there's several world-class appellate lawyers just waiting to get their teeth into this."

An appeal could be based on a number of issues, including potential prosecutorial misconduct.

But at the heart of the Peterson trial controversy is the court's allowance of Stacy Peterson's disturbing comments, which jurors said were "extremely critical" to reaching the guilty verdict.

Jurors heard what she had said through the testimony of two key witnesses: the Rev. Neil Schori, Stacy Peterson's pastor, and Harry Smith, Savio's former divorce lawyer.

Schori testified that Stacy told him she woke up in the middle of the night -- the same night that Savio was killed -- and noticed her husband was not in bed.

"After that, it was some time later, in the early morning hours," Schori said. "She saw him standing near the washer and dryer, dressed in all black, carrying a bag. She said that he removed his clothing, and then took the contents of the bag and put all of that into the washing machine."

Schori said Stacy told him that Drew told her he had killed Savio and then coached her to lie to police about it. And she did, Schori said.

Juror Teresa Mathews said Friday that the jury was troubled that police interviewed Stacy while Drew was present.

Smith testified that Stacy planned to divorce Drew and wanted to know if "the fact that he killed Kathy could be used against him" as leverage.

Just days after that phone call with Smith, Stacy disappeared.

Her statements would be struck down in most courts of law: In 2004, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that hearsay violates a defendant's Sixth Amendment right to confront a witness testifying against him or her.

But Illinois passed a special law in 2008 that allows such hearsay evidence in rare instances when prosecutors believe a person was killed to prevent his or her testimony.

The law quickly became known as "Drew's law."

Defense attorneys argued that it was unconstitutional. They said it unfairly targeted Drew Peterson because it was passed after the case had already made national headlines.

"He is absolutely innocent," Brodsky said of Peterson after Thursday's verdict, adding that his client was convicted "based almost entirely on hearsay."

Kelly Saindon, a former prosecutor in Chicago who attended parts of the Peterson trial, said the hearsay evidence was key.

"That was exactly the turning point when the prosecution hit their stride," she told HLN. "Stacy's voice came in, and everyone knew she was gone and that Drew Peterson was a murderer.

"You could see it on the jury's face," she said.

Savio was found dead in her bathtub on March 1, 2004. Her hair was wet, but the tub was clean and dry.

Savio's killing did not garner much publicity until Stacy Peterson went missing and investigators began looking again into the circumstances. They exhumed Savio's body, re-examined it and issued a second report on her death. Savio, it said, was murdered.

Peterson was arrested and charged in May 2009 with first-degree murder.

His lawyers argued her death was accidental -- that she fell, hit her head and drowned. But jurors said Friday that they believed doctors who testified otherwise; that Savio's injuries were not consistent with a bathroom mishap.

Jurors never saw any physical evidence connecting Peterson to Savio's death. Nor was there testimony placing him at the crime scene. But they heard what Stacy said.

The jury of seven men and five women deliberated for nearly 14 hours before reaching their verdict.

When the panel adjourned for the night Wednesday, the jury was 11-1 in favor of a guilty verdict, juror Ron Supalo told reporters. He was the holdout and said it was Schori and Smith's testimony about what Stacy had said that finally swayed him.

"The hearsay evidence was big," he told CNN affiliate WLS-TV. "It seemed all the evidence was pointing toward the defendant being guilty."

Jury foreman Eduardo Saldana said Friday the testimony of Schori and Smith played a big part in the jurors' decision.

Schori said he was "hugely honored to be able to give Stacy a voice."

"The jury did the right thing," he said. "And justice is coming for Stacy's family, too. It's going to happen."

Peterson was married to Savio in 2001 when he had an affair with then-17-year-old Stacy Cales, who eventually became his fourth wife.

Savio and Peterson filed for divorce in October 2001. Their relationship was contentious in the years following, and a legal battle ensued over the division of common property. A court was about to make a ruling in which Savio was expected to receive part of Peterson's pension and other support. But Savio died before the decision.

Peterson is set to be sentenced in late November.

Illinois no longer has the death penalty. Peterson faces a maximum of 60 years in prison.

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