CHESTER, Ill. — Jurors found former suburban Chicago police officer Drew Peterson guilty of trying to hire someone to kill the prosecutor who helped convict him in his third wife's death.
The jury came back rather quickly, deliberating for just over an hour. Peterson seemed to know the news was not good for him. He had no real reaction to speak of when the verdict was read. In fact, the prosecutor believes jurors had their mind made up last week and today’s closing arguments were only a formality.
“A prosecutor has a right to go home and sleep soundly and not worry about getting a bullet in his head after he’s done his job,” said Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow, who Peterson was accused of targeting, after the verdict.
Glasgow was echoing the words used by fellow State’s Attorney Jeremy Walker in his closing arguments to jurors. Walker, along with Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, brought the murder-for-hire charges against Peterson after an inmate wore a wire while serving time with him in the Menard Correctional Center.
“Whenever you have a credible threat like this somebody has to take serious and somebody needs to prosecute it,” Walker said.
Even though the recordings were difficult to make out at times, and even though Peterson never used the words “murder” or “kill James Glasgow,” the jury found Peterson guilty of trying to hire a hitman to kill Glasgow.
“I thought about the fact when I started this prosecution, this isn’t the strongest case,” Walker said. “We kept going forward, but always in the back of my mind, if they guys gets away, I could be in danger, my family could be in danger, but I don’t have the luxury of stopping,” Walker said.
Peterson’s attorney left the courthouse without speaking to the media, but in closing arguments called all the evidence presented “questionable,” saying the state fell well short of the mark. Also in court for the verdict: Cassandra Cales, the sister of Peterson’s missing fourth wife, Stacy.
“ I’m only here to keep my sister’s face out there and with all these charges he’s not getting out and maybe he’ll give up what happened to my sister,” Cales said.
Peterson said something to Cales as he was being escorted out of court. Glasgow says he’s no closer to bringing charges in the case, even though Drew Peterson feared he might. As for this case, Peterson could get up to 60 years when he’s sentenced on July 26. That would be on top of the 38 years he’s currently serving for the murder of his third wife, Kathleen Savio.