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Drew Peterson asks US Supreme Court to hear appeal of murder conviction in 3rd wife's death

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© Zbigniew Bzdak/Chicago Tribune/TNS
Convicted killer Drew Peterson, seen here in 2009, was sentenced in 2013 for murdering his third wife, Kathleen Savio, who was found dead in 2004.

By William Lee, Chicago Tribune
CHICAGO


Drew Peterson is taking his case to the nation's highest court as the former Bolingbrook, Ill., police officer seeks to undo his murder conviction for the death of his third wife.

The Illinois Supreme Court has twice rejected Peterson's request for a new trial for the murder of his ex-wife Kathleen Savio, whose death was re-examined after Peterson's fourth wife, Stacy, went missing in 2007.

On Monday, Peterson's attorney Steve Greenberg filed a petition with the U.S. Supreme Court, asking it to review the decision of the state's high court.

In Greenberg's 38-page filing, he alleges, among other claims, that the use of hearsay testimony - statements that Savio made to family members and in a written statement to police before she died, and statements Stacy Peterson made to her pastor and a divorce lawyer before her disappearance - should never have been allowed.

The filing also questioned the legality of allowing divorce attorney Harry Smith to testify at trial about a telephone call in which Stacy Peterson indicated Drew Peterson had killed Savio.

Last September, the Illinois Supreme Court unanimously found that the hearsay testimony did not violate Peterson's constitutional rights. The court declined to rehear his appeal of that decision in January, reissuing its earlier ruling, which also rejected his arguments that he received ineffective legal representation.

Monday's filing represents a last shot at having his murder conviction overturned. The former police sergeant has maintained his innocence.

Though she's presumed dead, Stacy Peterson's remains have never been located and no one has been charged in connection with her disappearance.

Whatever the outcome of this latest court maneuver, though, Peterson is unlikely ever to be freed. After his murder conviction in 2012, he was convicted of trying to get a fellow inmate to hire a relative to kill Will County State's Attorney James Glasgow.

Peterson, who was already serving a 38-year sentence for killing Savio, was sentenced to 40 years for the murder-for-hire plot. Peterson, 64, is not eligible for parole until 2081.

If the petition is successful, the Supreme Court would allow for briefings and oral arguments on the issues raised in Peterson's filing.

Visit the Chicago Tribune at www.chicagotribune.com

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U.S. - U.S. Daily News: Drew Peterson asks US Supreme Court to hear appeal of murder conviction in 3rd wife's death
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