- - Sunday, August 26, 2012


JOLIET — The judge at Drew Peterson’s murder trial exposed potential holes in the state’s case against the former suburban Chicago police officer, telling prosecutors Friday that they have failed to either place Peterson in the bathroom where his third wife was found dead or illustrate exactly how he might have killed her.

The issue arose as the judge blocked a bid by prosecutors to introduce testimony that Mr. Peterson once received stranglehold training that would have given him special expertise in how to kill Kathleen Savio, 40, whose body was found in her dry bathtub. Mr. Peterson, 58, has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder in her 2004 drowning death.

Prosecutors told the judge — with jurors out of the courtroom — that they intended to introduce testimony about how the former Bolingbrook police sergeant might have gone about killing Mrs. Savio by putting her in stranglehold. Judge Edward Burmila responded that it appeared they were trying to get jurors to speculate.

“You can’t be serious,” he balked. “You don’t even have any evidence linking him to the scene. Now you want to say this is what he did there?”

Prosecutors did not appear poised to address that potential weakness, indicating Friday that they likely would not call any more witnesses before they rest their case Monday morning. They appear to hold out hope that their circumstantial case, which included witnesses who testified Mr. Peterson repeatedly threatened Mrs. Savio, was strong enough.

Prosecutors had said earlier they expected to rest Friday after calling more than 30 witnesses over four weeks. But arguments over the admissibility of evidence caused repeated delays.


Trial set in hair-cutting attacks on Amish

TOLEDO — Sixteen members of a breakaway Amish group accused of hair-cutting attacks against members of their own faith in Ohio are set to go on trial this week in Cleveland.

The group’s leader and several family members are among those charged with hate crimes in what prosecutors say were attacks motivated by religious differences. They could face prison terms of 20 years or more if convicted.

The group split from another Amish settlement in Ohio nearly two decades ago following a dispute over religious differences.

Those charged argue that the government shouldn’t get involved in what they call internal church disciplinary matters. The group’s leader denies ordering the hair-cutting but he says he didn’t stop anyone from carrying it out and defends punishing people who break church laws.


Man recalls helping stop NYC gunman

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