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Jury Convicts Drew Peterson in Wife’s Death

Former Bolllingbrook, Illinois police officer Drew Peterson
Scott Olson/Getty Images

JOLIET, Illinois (AP) – It was a case that was based mainly on second-hand hearsay evidence — but that didn’t keep a jury in Illinois today from convicting Drew Peterson of murder in the death of his third wife, Kathleen Savio.

Jurors deliberated for more than 13 hours before reaching a decision.

The trial was the first of its kind in state history, with prosecutors given some new leeway in the evidence they were able to use, thanks to a new state law that was tailored specifically to the case. It allowed them to introduce statements from Savio and from Peterson’s fourth wife, Stacy, who disappeared in 2007.

Peterson looked straight ahead and didn’t react as the verdict was read. Several of Savio’s relatives gasped before hugging each other and crying quietly in the courtroom.

A defense lawyer says Peterson is saddened by the verdict, but that he didn’t say much. He says the defense will appeal — and that the law allowing the use of the hearsay evidence “has to be changed.”

Peterson faces a maximum 60 years behind bars.

Prosecutors suspect Peterson killed his fourth wife, Stacy, because she knew of his involvement in the death of his third wife. But no charges have been filed in Stacy Peterson’s disappearance, and her body has never been found.

Authorities first considered Savio’s death to be an accident — but the case was reopened after Stacy Peterson disappeared.

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