CHICAGO — For a man whose fourth wife had just disappeared, Drew Peterson didn’t sound the least bit worried. He seemed almost gleeful, suggesting that she had run off with another man and that all her threats of divorce coincided with her menstrual cycle.
Authorities investigating that disappearance in 2007 soon started wondering if Peterson might have been involved with the earlier drowning death of his third wife. But that didn’t faze him. He joked about a “Win a Date With Drew” contest and discussed appearing on a reality TV show about a Nevada brothel.
Five years after he became an object of national scorn, Peterson is about to go on trial on charges that he murdered Kathleen Savio in 2004. His fourth wife, Stacy Peterson, has never been found.
The case, which begins Monday with jury selection, is sure to rekindle memories of the media frenzy that engulfed Peterson before his arrest, when he often joked with an army of news crews camped outside his house and even invited Geraldo Rivera into his kitchen.
Prosecutors expect to tell a relatively simple story: Drew Peterson killed his ex-wife to keep her from making off with much of his money in a contentious divorce. Sometime around Feb. 29, 2004, according to the indictment, Peterson went to Savio’s house and in the bathroom caused her “to inhale fluid,” killing her.
Because Savio’s death was originally ruled an accidental drowning, prosecutors will present pathologists to explain that an examination of Savio’s body after it was exhumed revealed she had been killed.
Peterson’s attorney, Joel Brodsky, said he has three pathologists ready to testify that Savio’s death was, as originally determined, an accident.