Drew Peterson judge considering mistrial -- for third time

August 14, 2012 (JOLIET, Ill.)

Judge Edward Burmila on Tuesday blasted prosecutors for violating his order not to discuss whether the former police officer's wife once asked for an order of protection against him. Peterson is charged in the 2004 death of his third wife, Kathleen Savio. He was charged after his fourth wife, Stacy Peterson, disappeared in 2007.

In response, Peterson's attorney asked the judge for a mistrial. The judge then gave prosecutors a short time to respond Tuesday afternoon.

Burmila told prosecutors before the Tuesday lunch break not to mention the order of protection. Peterson's attorneys called the prosecution's actions unfair.

The prosecutor who mentioned the order apologized to the judge, saying it was her fault.

Earlier in the day's proceedings, a toxicologist who took samples from Savio's body during both autopsies in 2004 and 2007 took the stand. Toxicologist Christopher Long said he tested samples from Savio's body during the original 2004 autopsy and 2007 autopsy when Savio's body was exhumed.

Long said there was no presence of antidepressants or other drugs and slight presence of aspirin.

The defense says Long didn't do additional testing at the time of the first autopsy. The defense pressed the issue to raise doubt Savio could have used antidepressants, suggesting the death could have been suicide or drugs covering an accidental drowning in the bathtub.

But the judge also barred two prosecution witnesses from testifying that the former Illinois police officer once boasted to them that he could make a murder look accidental.

Judge Edward Burmila ruled Tuesday out of earshot of jurors. Burmila agreed that admitting Peterson's alleged comment to missing fourth wife Stacy Peterson's aunt and another woman would have created an unfair bias in jurors' minds. Both women were then removed from Tuesday's witness list. Other witnesses have already testified that Peterson told Savio he could make her murder look accidental.

"So far, I think both sides have had good moments and both sides have had some tough moments. It is like any trial. When you get to week three, a little bit of fatigue sets in, so we will have to work through that. I think that the jurors will get a little bit fatigued. So hopefully we can keep it interesting," said Steven Greenberg, Peterson attorney.

Two pathologists are scheduled to take the stand this week for the prosecution. Both of them say Savio's death was a murder when they reexamined the body in the second autopsy. Drew Peterson's attorneys have experts that will say Savio's original autopsy showed it was accidental.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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