Drew Peterson jurors talk day after conviction

September 7, 2012 2:12:26 PM PDT
Jurors found Drew Peterson guilty in the 2004 murder of his third-wife, Kathleen Savio, on Thursday. Four of them, including the foreman, spoke on Friday.

"When the deliberations began, we first talked about what the doctors had to say. And we pretty much all agreed it was a homicide," Eduardo Saldana, 22, said. Saldana, the youngest juror, served as foreman. "We did not think the death was accidental."

The jury -- seven men and five women -- found the former Bolingbrook police sergeant guilty of first-degree murder on Thursday, after about 14 hours of deliberations. They took three votes on Wednesday. In that third vote, only one juror was still undecided.

Juror Ron Supalo told ABC7 he needed to sleep on it. So he and the others went home Wednesday night, and returned Thursday for a second day of deliberations. About five hours later, they reached a unanimous "guilty" verdict.

Savio's murder was first ruled an accident in 2004, but the case was reopened when Peterson's fourth wife, Stacy Peterson, disappeared. Prosecutors relied heavily on hearsay testimony from friends of Stacy Peterson, who is still missing. They had said Stacy told them Peterson murdered Savio and she lied to police for him.

"The hearsay testimony from Stacy, that was the biggest part about this," Saldana said. "We believed the statements."

He said hearsay testimony from Stacy's pastor and a divorce attorney Stacy called was critical to the case. Jurors had asked for transcripts of that testimony during deliberations- and they were both read out loud in open court by a court reporter.

"One of the first things Drew Peterson said, when he went up the stairs, that we heard, was 'you know, they're going to think I did it.' When we heard that, that kind of confirmed the threats that he made towards Kathleen," Saldana said.

The defense had argued that Savio's death was the result of a fall.

"The simple fact that they said she fell backwards, hitting her head, but she was laying down face first," juror Jeremy Massey said.

The jurors who spoke Friday said only Supalo had a problem with the hearsay evidence that was allowed in the court.

"That's why we continued on to the second day... He reviewed all his testimony, and we talked about it all, and then he felt comfortable to find him guilty."

As the verdict was read on Thursday, Peterson watched the jurors intently. On Friday, the jurors said they didn't notice.

"We were all focused on Judge Burmila," said juror Teresa Mathews. "We just heard the family as they gasped."

During the trial, jurors would color coordinate their outfits. Court watchers wondered if they were trying to send a message.

"There was no message. We spent a lot of time together, got along very well," Teresa Mathews said. "We had our bailiff's approval."

"We were bored," Saldana said.

Mathews said they had approval from the judge before wearing sports jerseys. And while Judge Edward Burmila didn't ask them not wear Cubs jerseys, they all knew of his preference.

Patricia Timke was an alternative juror. She sat in on everything but the deliberations. She said she would have "done the same as those people."

"That is a heavy, heavy decision for anyone to make," said Timke, alternative juror. "You're dealing with a man and his life."

When asked about Stacy Peterson's disappearance, Mathews said, "Hopefully they'll look into that further for that family."

Peterson is a suspect in the disappearance of his fourth wife, Stacy, but has not been charged.


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