- Associated Press - Thursday, November 6, 2014

CHICAGO (AP) - Prosecutors on Thursday asked an Illinois court to reject Drew Peterson’s appeal of his murder conviction for the death of his third wife, arguing that overwhelming circumstantial evidence proved the former Chicago-area police officer was, in fact, guilty.

The filing by Will County prosecutors with the 3rd District Appellate Court in Ottawa challenges Peterson’s contention that jurors should have acquitted him, including because there was no physical evidence tying him to Kathleen Savio’s death.

Peterson, 60, gained nationwide notoriety after his fourth wife, Stacy Peterson, disappeared in 2007. He was convicted in 2012 of killing Savio and leaving her body in a bathtub of her Bolingbrook home. He is serving a 38-year prison sentence.

Defendants can be convicted solely on circumstantial evidence, Thursday’s brief says, if it’s credible and overwhelming. And Peterson “repeatedly broadcast his intent to kill (Savio), repeatedly attacked her … and admitted to Stacy that he killed her.”

At trial, prosecutors often relied on hearsay. Testimony focused on statements Savio made to others before she died and that Stacy Peterson made before she vanished.

Peterson’s filing early this year notes prosecutors didn’t only lack physical evidence, they also had no eyewitnesses and no confession.

“While it is true there is no magic formula for a murder conviction, at least one of these pieces of evidence is usually present where an appellate court upholds murder convictions,” the defense filing said.

Savio’s 2004 death was initially ruled accidental but was reopened after Stacy Peterson’s disappearance. Authorities have said they believe that Stacy Peterson is dead and that Drew Peterson is a suspect, but her body has never been found and he hasn’t been charged in that case.

Oral arguments on the appeal will be scheduled sometime after the defense replies to prosecutors’ filing.

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