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Kathleen Savio Speaks from the Grave: Witnesses Say She Feared Husband Drew Peterson

Wednesday, January 20, 2010 at 3:33 pm
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UPDATE: Kathleen Savio's former coworkers testify that Drew Peterson once threatened to kill her with a knife, and that he stalked her outside her workplace in a police car, leaving her crying and shaken. See update after the jump...


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Drew and Stacy Peterson, before she disappeared in 2007. She reportedly told her pastor that Drew had confessed to killing Kathleen.
When Kathleen Savio drowned in her bathtub in 2004, it was initially ruled an accident. This despite Savio repeatedly telling friends and relatives that she feared her husband, Bolingbrook, Illinois police Sergeant Drew Peterson.

Though there's no evidence of a cover-up, it's easy to deduce that Peterson's colleagues didn't look too hard for an alternative theory -- even though the bathtub she drown in was dry. In the two years leading up to the incident, police had been called to their home 18 times for domestic disturbances. Kathleen told officers that Drew had beaten her and threatened to kill her.

Peterson, not surprisingly, was never arrested. But Kathleen was. She was charged with domestic battery -- though she was later acquitted.

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Despite drowning in a dry bathtub, Bolingbrook police initially ruled her murder an accident.
There was ample evidence that the drowning could be more than an accident. Two years before, Kathleen had even taken out a restraining order against Drew, saying she'd been knocked down and threatened. "He wants me dead, and if he has to, he will burn the house down just to shut me up," she wrote at the time.

But the bright lights of the Bolingbrook PD still believed it an accident -- until 2007, when Peterson's fourth wife Stacy went missing. The cop was named a suspect. That's when police finally realized that Kathleen's death didn't look so accidental after all. 

It's also when the Illinois legislature passed what's become known as Drew's Law, which clearly targets the Peterson case. It allows a judge to entertain hearsay evidence in murder trials if prosecutors prove a defendant killed someone to keep them from testifying. And in this case, there appears to be a whole lot of people willing to speak.

In a hearing that begins today, 60 witnesses are expected to tell Judge Stephen White about how Kathleen feared her husband would kill her. Among them will be family members, who were warned by Kathleen that if she died, it would appear accidental, but it wouldn't be.

There's also speculation that pastors from Stacy Peterson's church may testify. She reportedly told a reverend that Drew confessed to killing Kathleen just months before her own disappearance.

UPDATE: Kathleen told coworkers that Peterson once threatened to kill her, and he repeatedly stalked her outside her workplace in police cars.

But neither one of them called Bolingbrook police after her suspicious death, believing Peterson's fellow officers would do nothing with the information. "Kathleen said it wouldn't help,"  Lisa Mordente, Savio's boss, told the Chicago Tribune.

Mordente testified that before her death, Peterson stalked Savio outside her job. She remembers seeing a white male sitting outside her building in both marked and unmarked police cars for hours on end. Once, when Savio went out to talk to the man, she returned crying and shaking, and said the man was her ex-husband.

Coworker Issam Karam also said that in late 2003, Kathleen told him that Peterson had broken into her home, put a knife to her throat, and threatened to kill her. 

"He told her that nothing she could do would make her safe," Karam testified. "She could not run or hide. He said he could kill her right there and then, but he wouldn't because it would be too bloody. She truly felt her life was in danger."


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