The decision is a win for the prosecution. Peterson is on trial for the murder of his third wife, Kathleen Savio. Prosecutors had been trying to get into evidence what would normally be considered hearsay that Savio talked to others about how Peterson had threatened her life. A lower court had decided that hearsay evidence could not be considered. This Illinois Supreme Court decision overturns that.
According to the story in the Chicago Tribune, the decision is sending the case back to the lower courts. The case has already lasted for years in the trial phase, before the actual trial itself has even begun. This decision is likely to extend the length of the trial yet again.
Savio’s death was originally labeled as an accident. She was found dead in an empty hot tub and had apparently died from drowning. Then, Peterson’s fourth wife, Stacy Peterson, vanished and focus shifted back to the case of Savio. Savio’s relatives had insisted, for years, that Peterson had murdered her and her body was exhumed and re-examined. At that point her cause of death was changed from an accident to murder. Peterson was arrested and has been in prison awaiting trial since. That was in 2009.
Peterson was a former police officer in the Bolingbrook area. His case, especially that of his missing fourth wife, caught national attention. Peterson then gained fame by appearing on numerous daytime talk shows and news shows, insisting that Stacy Peterson had simply run off with another man.
Previously, 14 hearsay statements that prosecutors had tried to admit into evidence were ruled as inadmissible by a lower court. The prosecution has insisted that the statements help tell Savio’s story.
Peterson’s attorneys say that they are disappointed with the decision by the Illinois Supreme Court. Peterson’s team insist that he should be released pending the decisions prior to the trial. He currently sits in jail with a $20 million bond set against him. All motions to set him free while awaiting trial have been dismissed.