Peterson releases letter, gun ruling due in Oct.

September 7, 2010 2:52:42 PM PDT
A decision on whether Drew Peterson can be prosecuted on an illegal weapons charge will be made by a judge on October 1, a Will County judge ruled Tuesday.

"Drew Peterson did not have a right to posses a short barreled weapon, and he did not have a right to transfer that weapon secretly to his son," said Charles Pelkie, Will County state's attorney spokesperson.

This is the second time Will County Judge Richard Schoenstedt will have to rule on whether an illegal weapons charge against Drew Peterson merits going to trial over or not.

Reinstated by an appellate court after he dismissed them the first time around, the charges allege that Peterson illegally shortened the barrel of his AR-15 rifle, a rifle that he then dropped off, along with other weapons, at his son Stephen Peterson's home, just two days before police executed a search warrant on his home in 2007.

Peterson's attorneys argued Tuesday morning that federal law allows police officers to own a semi-automatic rifle with a shortened barrel, and furthermore, that he is protected under the 2nd Amendment.

"Police officers are exempt from state gun laws. This is because they wanted to charge him with something. And what they're doing to his son, is trying to prosecute him for the perceived sins of the father," said Peterson defense attorney Steve Greenberg.

A six-year veteran of the Oak Brook police force, Steve Peterson was placed on paid leave nearly two weeks ago after he admitted in court to taking his father's guns. This has led Drew Peterson himself to release a letter and photograph of his children to the media.

In the letter, Peterson blasts the investigation against him, which he says has "threatened, harassed, pestered and hounded...just about every loved one I've ever known."

Furthermore, Peterson asks the media to "closely watch over these proceedings to help protect my son Stephen...against the malicious prosecution he is now facing."

"This defendant has courted the media at every corner. So we're obviously not surprised that he's sending out letters to the press," said Pelkie.

Bolingbrook Police Chief Kevin McCarthy testified that Peterson was never given permission to modify his personal weapon.

This charge is being pursued independently from the murder case against Peterson. That case is now before an appeals court and has yet to go to trial.

To read the entire letter, click here.

Peterson also released a picture of his children. He says he keeps it in his cell.


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