Drew Peterson murder trial under way in Joliet

July 31, 2012 (JOLIET, Ill.)

A clean-shaven Drew Peterson appeared in court Tuesday as the session began with prosecutors presenting their opening statements at 9 a.m. By 11 a.m., there had already been drama.

Drew Peterson is accused of murdering Kathleen Savio in 2004. Her death was initially ruled a drowning, but after Peterson's fourth wife, Stacy Peterson, disappeared in 2007, investigators reopened the case, and Savio's death was ruled a homicide.

One of the prosecutors gave his opening statement and started to tell jurors that Peterson offered a friend $25,000, but defense attorneys cut him off, stopping him from saying that it was intended as big money. Jurors were sent out of the courtroom. Peterson's defense asked for a mistrial, but it was denied.

Prosecutors told jurors that Drew Peterson killed Savio and made it look like an accident.

They also went into detail about Peterson's extra-marital affairs and marital assets and closed by asking jurors to use their skills to come up with the conclusion that Peterson killed his third wife, despite the lack of DNA evidence.

Peterson's defense attorney said his team would convince jurors of that Drew Peterson did not do anything.

" I am confident that Joel [Brodsky] has been working hard on his opening statement and has a lot to tell the jury, tell them how Drew has been a public servant all his life and how this was just an accident," said defense Attorney Steve Greenberg.

Peterson has not been charged in the disappearance of Stacy Peterson.

During the trial about Savio's death, prosecutors plan to call several witnesses, including a few of Savio's neighbors who will likely testify she was afraid her estranged husband would kill her.

"The challenges for the prosecution, of course, are overcoming the fact that there is no eyewitness and no smoking gun, no DNA, anything like that. The challenges for us are just in overcoming the perception that they were getting divorced and it is just coincidence," said Greenberg.

The defense team started its opening statements at about 10:45 a.m.

Afterwards, the prosecution is expected to present its case.

Copyright © 2024 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.