JUSTICE FOR KATHLEEN …
A day after the defense and prosecution presented their closing arguments in the Drew Peterson murder trial, the case was given to the jury for deliberations. Former Bolingbrook police sergeant Peterson was charged with murder in the death of his third wife Kathleen Savio. The accidental drowning death of Savio in 2004 was later changed to a homicide after the disappearance and presumed death of Peterson’s fourth wife, Stacy Peterson. The prosecution alleges that the 58 year old Peterson murdered Savio and staged her death to look like an accident.
After hearing five weeks of evidence, the jury began deliberations at 10:37 a.m. ET Wednesday. Judge Edward Burmila read 15 minutes of instructions to the jurors, saying that they should start with the presumption that Peterson is innocent and only convict him if they find him guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, The Associated Press reported.
“The defendant is not required to prove his innocence,” Burmila told jurors.
The jurors made several requests in the first few hours, NBCChicago.com reported. They requested Peterson’s phone records from the weekend Savio died and autopsy photos of Savio’s body. They also wanted a letter written by Savio that described her fear that Peterson would kill her, but the judge only allowed them access to a heavily-redacted version. The jurors’ request for a transcript of the testimony from Rev. Neil Schori and attorney Harry Smith was denied by the judge, and instead the transcript was read back to them by a court reporter.
Its now up to the seven-man, five-woman jury to decide Drew Peterson’s fate. The jury in the Drew Peterson murder trial deliberated for more than eight hours Wednesday before a judge sent them home for the night.