The murder trial of former Bolingbrook police sergeant Drew Peterson has been further postponed following an Illinois Supreme Court decision Wednesday that remanded the case to the Third District Appellate Court.
The state Supreme Court is demanding a formal decision on the admissibility of 13 statements reportedly made by Kathleen Savio, Peterson's third wife and alleged victim, before her death in March 2004.
The appellate court initially considered a request to reconsider the hearsay evidence from Will County State's Attorney James Glasgow, but the appeal was dismissed on a technicality, without consideration of the statements' merits, according to Bolingbrook Patch. The supreme court is now asking the appellate court to re-evaluate the hearsay evidence, which, if approved, would arm the prosecution with eight statements initially banned from the courtroom.
"I am extraordinarily pleased by Wednesday's Illinois Supreme Court order in the matter of People v. Peterson," Glasgow said in a statement released by his office. "I look forward to receiving an Appellate Court ruling on the merits of our appeal in light of the Illinois Supreme Court's holdings in People v. Hanson."
Many said the rejection of those statements in July could severely undermine the prosecution's case against Peterson, who wasn't charged in Savio's death until his fourth wife, Stacy Peterson, disappeared in 2007. Savio's death was initially classified as an accidental drowning, although her body was found in a dry bathtub.
While the substance of the statements has not been released, state attorneys indicated in court filings that they may be "unable to proceed to trial" due to insufficient evidence if the statements were excluded.
The hearsay evidence purportedly illustrates that Peterson had a financial and emotional motive to kill Savio, according to ABC Chicago.
Glasgow said in a statement that they expect the appellate hearing to postpone the criminal trial until spring 2012. Peterson was originally arrested in 2009 and has remained in custody as the case moves between courts.