Final arguments finished in Peterson trial

Sept. 4, 2012 at 11:45 PM
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JOLIET, Ill., Sept. 4 (UPI) -- Drew Peterson's attorney said Tuesday in closing arguments his client's Illinois trial on murder charges is "riddled with doubt like a piece of Swiss cheese."

Closing arguments lasted for more than 4 hours Tuesday, the Chicago Tribune reported.

Peterson, 58, a former Bolingbrook, Ill., police sergeant, is accused of killing his third wife Kathleen Savio three years before his fourth wife, Stacy, 23, went missing in 2007.

The prosecution and defense wrapped up their respective cases after five weeks of presenting evidence to a Will County jury.

Defense attorney Joseph Lopez said he put more than 50 hours of preparation into crafting his closing arguments, the newspaper said.

Prosecutors told jurors there is enough circumstantial and hearsay evidence to convict Peterson.

Assistant State's Attorney Christopher Koch quoted an alleged Peterson hearsay statement, opening his arguments with the line, "I'm going to kill you."

"You are not going to make it to the divorce settlement. You're not going to get the pensions, you're not going to get the kids," Koch said, repeating the hearsay statements introduced earlier in the five-week trial. "That is the statement the defendant made to the victim weeks before her death. And you know what, ladies and gentlemen, that threat became reality," Koch said, adding, "It is clear that this man murdered Kathleen Savio."

Defense attorneys argued Savio slipped and fell in her bathtub.

Will County Judge Edward Burmila had repeatedly prevented the Peterson jury from hearing some testimony supporting the prosecution's claim that Peterson put Savio in a chokehold until she passed out and then drowned her in the bathtub in 2004.

No physical evidence ties Peterson to Savio's death, and prosecutors have built a circumstantial case that relies heavily on hearsay statements.

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