Drew Peterson trial begins with jury selection

July 23, 2012 at 5:13 PM
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CHICAGO, July 23 (UPI) -- Jury selection began Monday in the long-delayed Chicago murder trial of Drew Peterson, accused of killing his third wife, Kathleen Savio, in 2004.

Peterson was allowed to introduce himself to prospective jury members, saying, "Good morning, ladies and gentlemen, I'm Mr. Peterson. Have a good day." Opening statements are scheduled to begin July 31.

Savio was found dead in a dry bathtub in 2004, in what authorities ruled an accident at the time. But after Peterson's fourth wife, Stacy, disappeared, Savio's body was exhumed and her death was ruled a homicide, The (Joliet) Herald-News said Monday.

In a ruling Monday before potential jurors entered the courtroom, Judge Edward Burmila denied a motion to admit eight hearsay documents against the former Bolingbrook police sergeant, allowing to stand a ruling by a prior judge that found eight of the statements unreliable, the Chicago Tribune reported. Although the decision is seen as a blow to the prosecution's case, Burmila left open the possibility he might rule separately on each hearsay document if the prosecution is able to lay a foundation for the statements. No mention of Stacy's disappearance is to be allowed.

The 212 potential jurors were chosen before the trial was delayed for two years, and Monday's activities were an indication the trial will now proceed, the Chicago Tribune said.

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