Drew Peterson sentenced to 38 years in prison in Kathleen Savio murder | 'He's going to die in prison,' says Brodsky

Drew Peterson is seen in this 2013 mug shot.
February 22, 2013 5:57:23 AM PST
''I did not kill Kathleen!'' Drew Peterson screamed from the stand just before the convicted killer received a 38-year prison sentence.

"Yes, you did," replied a voice in the courtroom, prompting Judged Edward Burmila to ask that person, Savio's sister, Susan Doman, to leave.

Peterson, who did not testify at his 2012 murder trial, took the stand Thursday at his hearing sentencing and spoke for about 40 minutes. He accused the prosecution of staging a homicide and conducting the "most expensive investigation" in the county's history. He also accused the media of making him "a monster," but later said he takes "full responsibility for my relationship with the media."

Breaking down into tears, Peterson said Savio's family "ruined her life," and accused them of trying to ruin his.

"Mr. Glasgow, all aspects of my life have been destroyed," Peterson said to the Will County state's attorney. "I tell you that so you celebrate."

Just before leaving the stand, he once again spoke to Will County State's Attorney James Glasgow.

"Never forget my face. Never forget what you've done," Peterson said. "I don't deserve this."

Saying Peterson showed "no remorse," Judge Burmila handed down the 38 year sentence. He said Peterson will get credit for time served already, but must serve all of it.

He did not comment after learning his sentence.

Peterson, 59, was convicted of murder in the 2004 bathtub murder of Savio. He faced a maximum of 60 years, and prosecutors had asked for the sentence to be in the "higher range" because the former Bolingbrook police sergeant violated the public trust.

"This sentence needs to send a very strong message that this will not be tolerated," Glasgow said. Glasgow had argued the sentence should ensure that Peterson "is never, ever back in society to wreak the havoc that he has wreaked."

"We all had an opportunity to see a psychopath reveal himself in open court. I've never seen a more pathetic display than today, saying 'I'm not asking for sympathy,' and then turning to the judge and asking for sympathy. That is pathetic," Glasgow said after the sentencing.

Peterson attorney Joe Lopez had asked for a lesser sentence.

"Drew loved his children more than he hated any of the women he was with," Lopez said. He argued that even after 20 years, Peterson's youngest children would be adults. "We don't need to punish the children more."

Lopez said Peterson was a "good officer," and arrived to work early, although he "might not have been the best husband."

Savio's family gave impact statements.

"Drew Peterson murdered my sister, Kathleen. Drew took everything away from Kathleen when he decided to take her life. He took away her children. He took away her dreams," Henry Savio, Jr. said. "I pray that during the last minutes of his life, he is able to clearly see her" and she is watching his "dissension to hell."

"He showed no remorse," he said.

Savio's sister, Anna Doman, also gave an impact statement during the sentencing hearing.

"It hurts a lot. . . I am confident it will get better," Doman said. "I still talk to her. I hope she listens."

Savio's 2004 bathtub murder was originally ruled an accident, but the case was reopened in 2007 when Peterson's fourth wife, Stacy Peterson, vanished. Stacy Peterson is still missing, and Drew Peterson is considered a suspect, but has not been charged in her disappearance.

In a last ditch effort before sentencing, Peterson asked for a mistrial. During that hearing, Peterson's attorney argued that the defense during the 2012 trial was "ineffective" due to lead counsel Joel Brodsky. They said Brodsky misrepresented Peterson by calling Stacy Peterson's divorce attorney as a witness.

Judge Burmila disagreed, saying he assumes Peterson "endorsed" Brodsky's decision. Immediately after denying the request for a retrial, Burmila began the sentencing hearing.

Stacy Peterson's family reacts

On Thursday evening, family and friends of Stacy Peterson shared in the Savio family victory.

Her disappearance and presumed death led police to develop the Savio murder case. However, loved ones still hope to see charges in the case.

"We're going to keep searching until she's found," said Cassandra Cales, sister.

Peterson could be transferred to a state prison as early as Friday, where he will likely spend the rest of his life.

"Clearly he's going to die in prison. It's without question," said Joel Brodsky, who represented Peterson for five years.

Relatives of Savio are relieved the man they call a "sociopath" is finally bars.

"I'm in control... He loses. We win," said Anna Doman.

Meanwhile, Glasgow says Peterson's conviction was the most satisfying of his career. Although Peterson's attorneys plan to appeal, Glasgow says he is confident the conviction will stand.

"Kathleen was murdered. The accident was off the books," Glasgow said.

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