Sept. 21 (UPI) — A murder conviction against a former Illinois police officer, convicted of killing his wife, was upheld by the state’s highest court on Thursday.
Peterson was convicted in 2012 for the death of his wife, Kathleen Savio, based on remarks she had made — and comments from Peterson’s fourth wife, Stacy, who is still missing.
Thursday, the state’s top court said those remarks were properly used against him at trial five years ago.
“Based on evidence that Stacy was planning to file for divorce, defendant’s acknowledgment of their marital difficulties and Stacy’s desire for a divorce, defendant’s concerns about the financial impact of a divorce, and Stacy’s knowledge about defendant’s involvement in Kathleen’s death, we cannot say that the trial court’s finding that the state established, by a preponderance of the evidence, that defendant murdered Stacy…was against the manifest weight of the evidence,” the court said in its long-awaited decision
Peterson was sentenced to 38 years in prison, but appealed the conviction in 2014, as his legal team suggested the prosecution case against him was weak.
“Regardless of anyone’s particular opinion as to his innocence or guilt, the fact remains that we are a nation of laws in which all individuals are entitled to a fair trial, competent counsel, and a decision based on admissible evidence,” Greenberg wrote. “When it comes to Mr. Peterson, the laws were changed, the rules were broken, and, in some respects, trial counsel was deficient, The ruling today demonstrates that courts are willing to overlook the obvious to achieve a certain result.”
In May 2016, Peterson was convicted of attempting to hire a hitman to kill the prosecutor who sent him to prison.