Kathleen Savio's sister testifies in Drew Peterson murder trial - My9 New Jersey

Kathleen Savio's sister testifies in Drew Peterson murder trial

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

The judge in the Drew Peterson trial recessed court until Tuesday because of a sick juror, after Kathleen Savio's sister finished testifying.

Judge Edward Burmila recessed proceedings Friday afternoon because a male juror was repeatedly coughing. Testimony was interrupted several times Friday morning to let the juror recover. The trial will reconvene Tuesday.

Peterson's former sister-in-law Anna Doman testified Friday that her sister said, before her death, that she believed Peterson was going to kill her.

Doman's account of what Savio allegedly told her is the first so-called hearsay testimony given at the former Bolingbrook police officer's murder trial.

Doman testified that Savio told her she was convinced she wouldn't live long enough to see the property settlement in her divorce from Peterson. She said Savio asked her to care for her two sons after her death.

PROSECUTION FACES UPHILL BATTLE

Peterson's defense attorneys didn't get their mistrial Thursday, but they're still claiming a win in the courtroom. Judge Edward Burmila threw out testimony from a witness who said he was intimidated by Peterson.

Witness Thomas Pontarelli was a former neighbor of Peterson's third wife, Kathleen Savio. Pontarelli's wife Mary found Savio dead in a dry bathtub in 2004. Her drowning death was originally determined to be an accident.

The defense is trying to prove that Savio's death was just that – a tragic accident. But when Peterson's 23-year-old fourth wife Stacy Peterson vanished in 2007, investigators were prompted to take another look at Savio's death. (Stacy Peterson has never been found, and while Peterson is a suspect in her disappearance, he has not been charged.)

Peterson was charged with first-degree murder in 2009, after Savio's body was exhumed and her death determined a homicide. The circumstances of her death, burial, and exhumation have left prosecutors with practically no physical evidence, so they will have to prove Peterson's guilt with mostly circumstantial evidence and hearsay testimony from friends and relatives of the victim.

The paramedic who was first to examine Savio's body testified Thursday, along with a locksmith. But Judge Burmila wouldn't allow Savio's divorce lawyer on the stand. He said the divorce could not be used as a motive.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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