Drew Peterson murder trial: Jurors to get the case Wednesday

September 4, 2012 (JOLIET, Ill.)

Closing arguments were heard on Tuesday. After both sides were heard, Judge Edward Burmila sent the jurors home. They are to report back Wednesday at 9 a.m. for jury instructions.

Peterson, 58, is charged in the death of his third wife, Kathleen Savio. Savio's body was found in a bathtub in 2004. Originally ruled an accident, the case was reopened after Peterson's fourth wife, Stacy, disappeared in 2007.

Prosecutors have relied heavily on hearsay evidence in their case, calling on friends of both Savio and Stacy. They argued that Peterson killed Savio and staged it to look like an accident.

Defense attorneys have stressed there is no physical evidence tying Peterson to the crime, and tried to poke holes in the prosecution's theory. They argued Savio's death was in fact an accident; that she fell and drown.

Jurors will now weigh the testimony of 44 witnesses over 22 days. Deliberations are expected to start as soon as closing arguments end Tuesday.

"When you walked into this courthouse you did not leave your common sense at the front door... It is clear this man [Peterson] murdered Kathleen Savio," Chris Koch, prosecutor, said, in court. "Taking all of that information together, and drawing reasonable inferences from them, using your common sense, we have proved to you beyond a reasonable doubt [Peterson] entered that home with the intent to kill her, he forced her down, he held her underwater, and caused her to drown, and she died, and because of that ladies and gentleman, we are asking that you find him guilty."

The defense followed with its closing statement.

"There [are] no witnesses or scientific evidence that place Drew at the house. .. They can't even prove that Ms. Savio was the victim of a homicide," defense attorney Joe Lopez said. "They're trying to nail Jell-O to a tree - it's an accident, it's an accident, pure and simple."

Lopez said, "The state has not proved this case beyond a reasonable doubt; this case is riddled with doubt like a piece of Swiss cheese."

Earlier Tuesday, defense attorney Joel Brodsky said Peterson was "a bit anxious but prepared emotionally for whatever happens."

And that's up to the jury. No telling how long deliberations could last once they start.

"You have to look at it from a jury's perspective. Jurors will sit and look at a person in murder cases. They say that a murder was committed. If they believe the threshold issue of a murder was committed, they tend to put all that aside and focus on the witnesses," Thomas Glasgow, legal expert, said.

"Anyone who thinks they can predict the outcome of a jury verdict should be in Vegas," Steve Greenberg, Peterson defense attorney, said.

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