Drew Peterson is a retired police sergeant from Bolingbrook, Illinois. After graduating high school and marrying his first wife, Carol Brown, Peterson joined the army. After two years of service, he joined the police department. After serving as a patrol officer, he was promoted to the drug unit, where he worked as an undercover officer.
His first wife filed for a divorce when she learned that Peterson was having an affair while undercover. Aside from two engagements, he would marry three more times. He would marry his second wife, Victoria Connolly, in 1982. Connolly would later discuss how abusive and controlling Peterson was, not only to her but to her daughter from a previous marriage as well. Peterson was also under investigation from his police unit for failing to report bribes and misconduct while undercover, for which he was temporarily fired and then demoted. This gave added stress to the relationship. Peterson began having an affair with his third wife, Kathleen Savio, while still married to Connolly. Peterson and Savio married two months after Peterson’s and Connolly’s divorce was finalized in 1992. Their relationship turned rocky however; in 2002, Savio got an order of protection against Peterson due to domestic abuse. Savio had withdrawn from friends and family throughout the relationship, stifled by Peterson’s control. Peterson also had been seeing his future fourth wife, Stacy, during the marriage. The couple’s divorce was finalized in 2003. Between 2002 and 2004, there had been 18 domestic disturbance reports filed at the Peterson home, several for abuse, breaking and entering on the part of Peterson, and notations for returning the pair’s children late from visitation.
The last weekend in February 2004 was one of the weekends Peterson had with his children from Savio. That Sunday, he went to his ex-wife’s house to return the children, but no one answered the door or the telephone. By Monday, March 1st, there still had been no sign of Savio. Peterson asked some neighbors to go into the house with him, where they discovered Savio in the bathtub. While her hair was damp, the tub was dry; there was a gash on her head and she was unresponsive. The original examination of the body and hearing pronounced the death as an accident, but those who knew Savio were already placing their suspicions on Peterson.
His alibi for Savio’s death was his fourth wife, Stacy. Thirty years his junior, Stacy was suffering from the confined nature of the relationship with Peterson. In October of 2007, Stacy was supposed to help her sister with some painting, but she never showed up. Her sister filed a missing person’s report on October 29th. Peterson told authorities his wife had called to say she had left him for another man, while many who knew her said she would never abandon her children. No trace of her has ever been found.
As suspicion naturally fell on Peterson for his 4th wife’s disappearance, media and police scrutiny of Peterson in general reopened interest in his 3rd wife’s death. Having the body exhumed and examined by a doctor who was not familiar with Peterson, Savio’s death was ruled as a homicide. In 2009, Peterson was indicted for killing Savio. Much of the case relied on “hear-say” evidence, which is usually not allowed, but the Illinois legislature passed “Drew’s Law” in 2008 for exceptions, which allowed some of the evidence to be heard. In September of 2012, Peterson was convicted. Peterson is serving a 38-year prison term for Savio’s death. On May 31, 2016, Peterson was sentenced to an additional 40 years after being convicted of trying to arrange a hit on James Glasgow, the Will County State’s Attorney. He continues to maintain his innocence in any actions related to what happened to both his 3rd and 4th wives.
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