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As the trial of a suburban Illinois cop accused of killing one wife and suspected in the disappearance of another begins, prosecutors are still fighting for the right to use statements made by the two women.Drew Peterson is currently on trial for the drowning death of his third wife Kathleen Savio. And he is suspected, but not charged, in the disappearance of his fourth wife Stacy Peterson.
As the Bolingbrook-based murder trial gets underway Tuesday, both sides are arguing whether statements “from the grave,” violate Peterson’s Sixth Amendment right to face his accuser, The New York Times reported Monday.
Will County court Judge Stephen White initially ruled the statements should not be admitted. However, an appellate court then reversed White’s decision.
By the time of the appellate court’s decision, White had retired and Peterson’s case had been passed on to Judge Edward Burmila, who recently ruled he would examine the statements on a case-by-case basis, according to the Times.
The controversial statements include claims by family and friends that Savio said Peterson threatened her. Stacy Peterson also told a college classmate that Peterson said he planned on killing Savio “and making it look like an accident and said he can get away with it, too, because he was a Bolingbrook cop,” assistant state’s attorney John Connor said, according to the Times.
The debate about the statements comes on the heels of a new Illinois law that allows hearsay if “evidence suggests that the absence of a witness was caused by the defendant,” the Times reported.
The law has been nicknamed “Drew’s Law.”
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