JOLIET, Ill., Jan. 19 (UPI) -- An Illinois judge evaluating hearsay evidence heard Tuesday accused killer Drew Peterson threatened his late wife, court watchers said.
A former co-worker of Kathleen Savio, who was found dead in her bathtub in 2004, told Will County Judge Stephen White Savio had said Peterson, a former suburban Chicago police sergeant, told her "nothing she could say or do would make her safe," the Chicago Sun-Times and Chicago Tribune reported.
The newspapers said Issam Karam, who had worked with Savio at a Romeoville graphics company, testified at a pretrial hearing in which prosecutors are seeking to allow hearsay evidence under the provisions of a 2008 state law making it easier to introduce statements made by homicide victims before their deaths.
Karam testified Savio was upset when they spoke at work in 2003, months before her death, telling him Peterson surprised and threatened her at her home after she had changed the locks to keep him out.
"She said that one night she came home, she was heading upstairs and Drew Peterson tackled her," the Sun-Times quoted Karam as testifying. "He threw her on the stairs, pinned her down and put a sharp knife to her throat."
Prosecutors reportedly plan to call as many as 60 witnesses in a bid to persuade a judge to allow hearsay testimony under "Drew's Law."
Peterson is also suspected in the October 2007 disappearance of his fourth wife, Stacy Peterson, but faces no criminal charges in whatever befell her. However, testimony about what she told people about Peterson before she vanished may also be allowed at the hearing, the Joliet Herald-News reported.