Minister takes stand in Peterson hearing

January 29, 2010 6:28:57 PM PST
The minister who counseled Stacy Peterson before she disappeared gave dramatic testimony Friday in Drew Peterson's pre-trial hearing on hearsay evidence. Rev. Neil Schori testified Stacy Peterson told him her husband was wearing black and carrying a bag of women's clothing the night before his third wife, Kathleen Savio, was found dead in a bathtub. He also said Stacy was afraid of her husband and didn't believe she could ever get away from him safely.

Rev. Schori said he began meeting with Stacy Peterson after she asked for marriage counseling when he was a pastor at a Bolingbrook church. Schori told prosecutors that Stacy told him that Drew Peterson badgered her into giving police a false alibi for him as they investigated the death of his third wife, Kathleen Savio.

Schori said Stacy told him the night Kathleen Savio died, "She saw Drew in their laundry room dressed in black with a bag of women's clothes that weren't hers."

Schori said Stacy then said Drew undressed and put all the clothes in the washing machine. Schori said Stacy made the discovery after waking up early in the morning of March 1, 2004 and finding Drew gone from their bedroom. Kathleen Savio was found dead in her bathtub later that day.

The former Bolingbrook police sergeant has been charged in Savio's 2004 death and is the only suspect in Stacy's 2007 disappearance.

"I would think that alone would end this hearing. It was amazing testimony from Neil," said Pam Bosco, Stacy Peterson family spokesperson.

Although the minister has said previously in interviews that Stacy told him that Drew Peterson confessed to her that he killed Savio, Judge Stephen White would not allow that testimony, initially ruling some conversations between Drew and Stacy are possibly protected by marital privilege.

Schori also said, when he told her to go the police, Stacy told him, "It won't do any good. You can't get away from the police when your husband is a police officer."

Attorneys for Drew Peterson countered by questioning why Schori didn't go to authorities himself when Stacy allegedly told him she was scare of Drew and what he might do.

"The question that I asked him -- and you heard his answer -- was what advice or counsel did he provide and that was none. The reason why is that none was needed. Nothing was said," said Andrew Abood, Drew Peterson's defense attorney.

The court also heard testimony from a doctor that treated Kathleen Savio for a type of vertigo. He says it is unlikely that the numbness and dizziness would cause her to fall or faint.