Drew Peterson offered $25K to kill 3rd wife, witness says

August 21, 2012 10:00:00 PM PDT
Drew Peterson asked ''if I could find someone to take care of his third wife,'' a witness testified on Wednesday during the murder trial.

Jeffrey Pachter and Peterson worked together at a cable company where the then Bolingbrook police officer was moonlighting from 2002 to 2004. Pachter said months before Kathleen Savio's body was found in her bathtub in 2004, Peterson offered him $25,000 to find someone to kill her while the two were riding around in Peterson's police squad car.

Peterson offered $25,000 to the hit man, Pachter testified, and said if Pachter could find someone to do it for less, Pachter could keep the leftover money. Pachter said Peterson told him to use a codeword related to "cookies," and to give him a heads up before the hit would take place. Peterson wanted to "be on a plane, out of the country, or cause a fight at Great America," Pachter said, so he'd have an alibi.

In July 2004, Pachter said Peterson called him and said, "The favor that I needed, I don't need it anymore."

During cross-examination, defense attorney Joe Lopez asked Pachter about his experience with hits.

"How many people have you killed?" Lopez asked.

"Zero," Pachter said.

"Are you a member of the Chicago Outfit?" Lopez asked.

"No," Pachter said.

"Are you in a street gang?" asks Lopez

"No" Pachter said.

Pachter testified that Peterson asked him about the hit because Pachter worked in a "bad" area of town. He said Peterson told him Savio "had something on him."

Peterson, 58, pleaded not guilty to the murder of his third wife, Savio. Savio's death was originally ruled an accident, but the case was reopened following the 2007 disappearance of Peterson's fourth wife, Stacy Peterson.

Peterson is a suspect in the Stacy's disappearance. He denies any wrongdoing in both cases.

Trooper testifies about 2004 investigation

Illinois State Police Master Sergeant Bryan Falat was called to testify next on Wednesday. Falat was assigned to the Savio murder investigation in 2004 after the Bolingbrook Police Department asked the Illinois State Police for help. Falat said he received a call around midnight that a Bolingbrook police officer's wife was found dead.

"Ms. Savio was deceased, naked in the bathtub," Falat said. "There was no water in the bathtub and the drain was down."

Falat said he went through the Savio home and saw nothing amiss. During an interview, Peterson was "cooperative, almost jovial-like." Falat was also present for the interview with Peterson's fourth wife, Stacy, in which Drew Peterson was allowed to sit next to her, something Falat said he was "not comfortable with."

Falat has said from the beginning he believes Savio's death was a homicide. The defense questions why the state trooper never came forward with that allegation.

"His actions speak louder than his words," Peterson defense attorney Joel Brodsky said. "He did not do anything. He said he had suspicions, but he did not note them on the report. When the case was closed, he did not object. He did not protest. People can say things four or five years down the line that may or may not be true, but you have to look at their actions. Because actions, as they say, speak much louder than words."

Juror knows Savio neighbor

Following the doctor, Nick Pontarelli, 22, was called to the stand. Pontarelli was 14 when Savio died. He lived next door to the Petersons, babysat their children, and went on camping trips with Savio and Peterson.

"Kathy was like a second mother to me," Pontarelli said. He also helped Savio change the locks on her home after she split with Peterson.

A juror then told the judge that he knew Pontarelli. After talking to the juror, defense and prosecution, the judge determined the juror could stay.

Peterson, 58, pleaded not guilty to the murder of his third wife, Savio. Savio's death was originally ruled an accident, but the case was reopened following the 2007 disappearance of Peterson's fourth wife, Stacy Peterson.

Peterson is a suspect in the Stacy's disappearance. He denies any wrongdoing in both cases.


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