05/17/2012 06:01 pm ET

Drew Peterson Trial Date Set, Alleged Wife-Killer's Trial Begins In July

After nearly two years of trial delays, former Bolingbrook police sergeant Drew Peterson will finally stand trial on the charge that he murdered Kathleen Savio, his third wife, in July.

Thursday, Will County Judge Edward Burmila, assigned earlier this month to the Peterson case, set jury selection in the trial for the week of July 23, the Chicago Tribune reports. The trial itself will begin on July 31.

"Yes, your honor. … I've been in solitary confinement for three years, your honor," Peterson told Burmila in court Thursday when asked if he agreed to the court date, the Tribune reports.

Burmila also on Thursday said that prosecutors will not be allowed to state that Peterson's fourth wife Stacy Peterson -- who was last seen in 2007 -- is dead, presumed dead or was killed by Peterson, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. Peterson remains the only suspect in her disappearance, but he has long held that he neither had nothing to do with her vanishing and that he believes Stacy "is still very much alive."

Still, CBS Chicago reports that Burmila ruled that prosecutors may ask witnesses why they did not immediately come forward with information about Savio's death.

Peterson attorney Joel Brodsky told ABC Chicago the day in court "went very well. The judge made some very important rulings in our favor."

Peterson has been in jail on $20 million bail for three years, since he was charged in the 2004 death of Savio. Last month, Peterson chose not to appeal an appellate court's recent decision on prosecutors' hearsay evidence -- statements reportedly made by Savio before her death. Essentially, Savio will be allowed to testify from beyond the grave in the trial.