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Judge denies Peterson mistrial

Aug. 2, 2012 at 11:49 AM

JOLIET, Ill., Aug. 2 (UPI) -- A judge Thursday denied a motion for a mistrial from lawyers for accused killer retired Bolingbrook, Ill., police Sgt. Drew Peterson.

Peterson is in the third day of his trial in Will County for the murder of his third wife, Kathleen Savio, whose body was discovered in a dry bathtub. His fourth wife, Stacy, has been missing since 2007.

Peterson's defense attorney Steve Greenberg requested a "mistrial with prejudice" again Thursday, a ruling that would have led to the case against Peterson being dropped, the Chicago Tribune said.

Greenberg criticized prosecutors for introducing what he called an improper testimony from a neighbor, Thomas Pontarelli, who said Wednesday he was fearful after he found a .38-caliber bullet in his driveway in 2004. He accused prosecutors of deliberately seeking a mistrial with their conduct while questioning Pontarelli on the witness stand.

"We think this was calculated," he said. "The prosecution wants to goad us into a mistrial so they can start over and they can recover from their mistakes."

"They intentionally did this. They didn't get other evidence in and they want to start over," Greenberg said after the mistrial motion was denied.

Prosecutors called his charge "absolutely false."

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