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Illinois Supreme Court again upholds conviction of Drew Peterson for murder of his third wife

Convicted+killer+Drew+Peterson%2C+seen+here+in+2009%2C+was+sentenced+in+2013+for+murdering+his+third+wife%2C+Kathleen+Savio%2C+who+was+found+dead+in+2004.+%28Zbigniew+Bzdak%2FChicago+Tribune%2FTNS%29
Convicted killer Drew Peterson, seen here in 2009, was sentenced in 2013 for murdering his third wife, Kathleen Savio, who was found dead in 2004. (Zbigniew Bzdak/Chicago Tribune/TNS)

Convicted killer Drew Peterson, seen here in 2009, was sentenced in 2013 for murdering his third wife, Kathleen Savio, who was found dead in 2004. (Zbigniew Bzdak/Chicago Tribune/TNS)

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Convicted killer Drew Peterson, seen here in 2009, was sentenced in 2013 for murdering his third wife, Kathleen Savio, who was found dead in 2004. (Zbigniew Bzdak/Chicago Tribune/TNS)

By Matthew Walberg | Chicago Tribune

Drew Peterson’s options for getting a new trial for the 2004 murder of his third wife, Kathleen Savio, have grown thinner after the Illinois Supreme Court on Friday declined to rehear his appeal.

In denying his petition for rehearing, the court reissued the opinion it put forth in September upholding Peterson’s conviction. In the 40-page opinion, the court unanimously rejected all of the former Bolingbrook police sergeant’s arguments — including that the trial court should not have allowed witnesses to testify about what his fourth wife, Stacy Peterson, told them about her husband’s involvement in Savio’s death shortly before Stacy Peterson disappeared in October 2007.

The court also rejected arguments that his flamboyant team of attorneys failed to give him effective legal representation when his lawyers allowed a divorce attorney to testify that Stacy Peterson asked him if she could use her knowledge of the defendant’s role in Savio’s death as leverage in divorce proceedings.

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Peterson was convicted of murder in 2012 and sentenced to 38 years in prison. He immediately began his fight to have the conviction overturned. After an appellate court upheld the conviction in 2015, he appealed to the state Supreme Court.

Will County state’s attorney’s spokesman Charles Pelkie said the office was “very pleased with the ruling,” but Peterson’s attorney vowed to continue the fight.

Peterson’s trial was an “unfair proceeding, tailored to achieve a conviction,” attorney Steve Greenberg said in an emailed statement.

“Because we are right, and because we believe in the system, we will continue to appeal and hope that some court has to courage to do what’s right under the law,” he said.

Even if the Supreme Court overturned the conviction and granted him a new trial, there is virtually no chance that he will ever be a free man, because at the same time he was trying to win a new trial, he was also scheming to have his nemesis — Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow — murdered.

In May 2016, a Randolph County, Illinois, jury found Peterson guilty of trying to have one of his fellow inmates at Menard Correctional Center in downstate Chester hire a relative to kill Glasgow.

Unbeknownst to Peterson, however, the inmate — Antonio “Beast” Smith — tipped off law enforcement authorities of Peterson’s plan and then worked with authorities to record hours of incriminating conversations.

Months later, Peterson was quietly transferred to a federal prison known for its severe restrictions on inmates’ ability to communicate with people outside the prison.

Peterson is the sole suspect in the disappearance of Stacy Peterson, authorities have said, but he has not been charged with a crime related to her case.

Peterson, 64, is eligible for parole in 2081.

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(c)2018 the Chicago Tribune

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