Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Drew Peterson: Wife Killer?

An "Accident"

When police arrived at Kathleen's house, they didn't follow standard procedures for investigating a death of unknown causea potential homicide. Judging by their actions, they had already concluded that Kathleen's death had been an accident, despite the evidence to the contrary that would be obvious to officials like State's Attorney James Glasgow looking at the case three years later.

When Glasgow, who was not State's Attorney at the time of Kathleen's death, reviewed the case after the 2007 disappearance of Stacy Peterson, he said the death scene in Kathleen's bathroom appeared to have been staged to look like an accident.

Jeff Tomczak
Jeff Tomczak
But in 2004, then-State's Attorney Jeff Tomczak didn't see it that way. In May 2004, a six-member coroner's jury listened to a couple hours of testimony and ruled Kathleen Savio's death an accidental drowning. One of the witnesses who testified was a state police investigator who told the jury there was no evidence of foul play, and that the laceration on the back of Kathleen's head had been the result of a fall. The conclusion was that the fall had knocked her out and she had drowned in the tub.

The trooper on whose testimony the jury leaned so heavily had not been present at either the death scene or at the autopsy, nor had he interviewed Drew Peterson, whose new wife, conveniently enough, provided his alibi.

Nevertheless, Kathleen Savio's death was officially ruled an accident.

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