Three years ago today, a small army of police descended on Drew Peterson as he drove away from his Bolingbrook home, and a small army of media was there to record it.
Three years later, the press is back, as the attention-starved Peterson was recently in court for the first time in nearly a year and a half. Peterson may have appreciated the coverage, but unfortunately for him, the disgraced former cop was still stuck in jail waiting on his murder trial to finally start.
The good news for Peterson, 58, is he likely won’t be spending another year in segregation in the Will County jail. His trial on charges he murdered his third wife, Kathleen Savio, is all but certain to begin before the year is out, ending a lengthy legal saga of appeals and arguments over the legitimacy of hearsay evidence.
During Peterson’s latest court hearing a mere three days ago, the accused wife-killer looked noticeably older. His hair has gone whiter since the day he was arrested, his face now gaunt behind the beard he let grow out.
But his appearance aside, Peterson is doing great in jail. At least according to one of his five attorneys, Joel Brodsky.
“Drew is happy that he can see the light at the end of the tunnel,” said Brodsky.
But that light might still be a good three months down the tunnel, and possibly even farther off than that, from what Peterson’s legal team was saying last week. Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow, on the other hand, maintained that prosecutors were prepared to go to trial immediately.
“Ready to go,” Glasgow said.
So in the space of a year, Peterson’s murder case has gone from limbo to the apparent fast track. At least one relative of his slain third wife has expressed relief that Savio’s case will find closure. But the mystery surrounding the fate of Peterson’s missing fourth wife, Stacy Peterson, remains no less murky this May 7 than on any May 7 in the previous four years.
It was the disappearance of Stacy Peterson, who would be 28 if she is still alive, that motivated the state police to re-examine Savio’s March 2004 death and ultimately charge Drew Peterson with murder.
At the time she went missing, however, the state police were quick to call Stacy Peterson the victim of a “potential homicide” and to name her much older husband the sole suspect in their investigation. That was more than four years ago, and they have yet to arrest the sole suspect, or anyone else, in connection with the Stacy Peterson case.
Master Sgt. Tom Burek, a spokesman for the state police, said the increased media scrutiny sparked by activity in the Savio prosecution precluded him from releasing information on what is going on with the Stacy Peterson case, but he insisted that things were in fact going on.
“The investigation is still active and continues to move forward,” Burek said.
Burek also said unidentified human remains found in Hodgkins near the Stevenson Expressway and LaGrange Road last month are “unrelated to our investigation.”
Whether the Stacy Peterson case ever makes it from active investigation to active prosecution is impossible to determine. But the once-accidental death of Kathleen Savio looks like it will be presented to a jury as a murder case between three and four years after her husband was jailed on charges that he killed her.
Asked about this stretch his client has already spent behind bars, another Peterson attorney, Joseph “Shark” Lopez, said, “Well, that’s a long time for doing nothing.”
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