Emotional testimony at start of Drew Peterson trial
July 31, 2012 (JOLIET, Ill.) (WLS) -- The neighbor who found Kathleen Savio's body in a bathtub in 2004 took the stand Tuesday in the first day of testimony in the Drew Peterson murder trial.
Peterson is accused of killing Savio, his third wife, in 2004. He was charged in Savio's murder after his fourth wife, Stacy, went missing in 2007.
Testimony got underway Tuesday afternoon following opening statements by the prosecutor and defense attorney. Using a low-keyed, softspoken manner, Will County State's Attorney James Glasgow opened by telling jurors "on March 1, 2004, Kathleen Savio's cold, lifeless body was found in a dry bathtub and it was staged to look like an accident."
Glasgow didn't get too far before case almost came to halt. The defense asked for a mistrial as Glasgow began to tell jurors about how Peterson offered a friend $25,000. The jury was asked to leave and the judge ruled prosecutors could not discuss an alleged hit to kill Savio.
In his hour-long opening statement, defense attorney Joel Brodsky told the jury, "Kathy slipped and fell in the bathtub, case closed." Brodsky called Savio's death, "a household accident."
"He went through the list of what they don't have and when you listen to the state, you heard what they don't have," said Drew Peterson attorney Steve Greenberg. "This is a case of two don't-haves trying to frame [Peterson] for an accident."
Brodsky called Savio an angry person who often went "bonkers." He said she was a person possessed, "a mad women."
The description angered Savio's father and stepmother, Marcia. "As far as Mr. Brodsky is concerned, he's got to stop trashing Kathleen. Drew is not the victim, Kathy was," Marcia Savio said.
Marcia Savio also became emotional in the courtroom when the first photo of Kathleen's body was shown to jurors.
The trial's first witness, Mary Pontarelli, tearfully testified that she discovered her next door neighbor dead in the bathtub.
Peterson is a suspect in the disappearance of his fourth wife, Stacy. He has not been charged and denies any wrongdoing. While the Savio case is not connected to Stacy's disappearance, her name was mentioned in both opening statements and Stacy's family spokesperson is confident Peterson will be convicted in the death of his third wife.
"I think from the start, the defense was going for a mistrial and I think we understand that they are very careful of what they have to hear going forward," said Stacy Peterson family spokesperson Pamela Bosco.
Defense attorneys said that Peterson is the victim of a media frenzy.
The trial has wrapped for the day and will continue on Wednesday with the expected testimony of Mary Pontarelli's husband.
local, sarah schulte
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