Some of Stacy Peterson's talks with minister allowed in trial

January 26, 2010 5:04:22 PM PST
The hearsay hearing for Drew Peterson's murder trial got a bit more complicated Tuesday. Now the prosecution and the defense are battling over whether a minister may testify about conversations he had with Stacy Peterson. Neil Schori, a counseling minister at Westbrook Christian Church in Bolingbrook, left the courtroom Tuesday without testifying about what Stacy Peterson told him she knew about Kathleen Savio's death. Schori provided marital counseling to both Stacy and Drew Peterson. He has previously told reporters that Stacy confided in him that Peterson confessed to Stacy that he killed Kathleen Savio.

Peterson's attorneys objected to allowing such testimony based on marital and clergy privilege.

"None of this stuff should ever see the inside of a courtroom, should never be told to a jury," said Joel Brodsky, Peterson's attorney.

Prosecutors argue Schori's non-denominational church doesn't have rules requiring confidentiality.

Judge Stephen White will allow testimony involving conversations between Stacy and Schori that took place in public places such as coffee houses.

"It's almost like confiding, in some of our eyes or in my eyes, is that they were confiding to a friend at some point," said Pam Bosco, Stacy Peterson Family Spokesperson.

"There's not a lot of cases on the issue because most clergy refuse to testify. And to see him come up here and not only just testify in court but go on...and peddle his story...really is kinda shocking," said Joel Brodsky, Peterson attorney.

Schori was told to return Wednesday until Judge White rules on allowing additional testimony from the minister.

Meantime, Donna Badalementi, a close friend of Stacy Peterson's aunt from California, testified about a chilling and strange statement Peterson made to her at a family party. Badalementi testified that Peterson said, "this marriage better work out or I will kill myself, or I will kill her." She also testified on a separate occasion that Drew Peterson bragged about his police training saying it was so good that he could get away with murder.

Schori is now one of over 20 witnesses that the prosecution has called and there are many more to go.