JOLIET, Ill. (AP) — Lawyers for Drew Peterson withdrew a motion for a mistrial Wednesday, saying the former Illinois police officer did not want a new jury to decide if he killed his third wife.
The defense attorneys also asked Judge Edward Burmila to declare all hearsay evidence in the murder trial inadmissible — a motion the judge again denied. Testimony resumed soon after.
Prosecutors are trying to prove that Peterson, 58, killed his third wife, Kathleen Savio, in 2004. He was charged after his fourth wife, Stacy Peterson, disappeared in 2007.
On Tuesday, Burmila admonished prosecutors for violating his order not to discuss whether Savio asked for an order of protection against Peterson. The prosecutor who mentioned the order apologized to the judge, but Peterson's attorneys called the prosecution's actions unfair and asked for a mistrial.
On Wednesday, as a hushed courtroom waited to hear the judge's decision on the mistrial motion, defense attorney Joe Lopez said his team was withdrawing the request.
"We are not giving the state a practice run," Lopez said. "This is a real race and Mr. Peterson wants the world to know that he's not afraid. He wants to keep this jury in its place."
The judge asked Peterson if he agreed with the move. He responded: "Yes."
On Tuesday, Burmila told prosecutor Kathleen Patton not to ask a witness in front of jurors about whether Savio had sought an order of protection against Peterson. When she did, the judge told jurors to leave the room and berated the prosecutor.
"There was one thing I told you not to go into and that's exactly what you did," Burmila told her.
Burmilla said Wednesday that both sides agree Savio did not seek an order of protection in July 2002.
"You are not to consider, infer or ponder for any purpose an order of protection," he told the jury.
The prosecution's blunder was the third in as many weeks that prompted Burmila to give serious consideration to declaring a mistrial.
Before testimony resumed Wednesday, Lopez told the court: "We don't want to take any more low blows."
The case has been beset by problems since Savio was found dead in her bathroom at her suburban home. Investigators collected no physical evidence, and authorities initially ruled that Savio accidentally drowned. After Stacy Peterson vanished three years later, Savio's body was re-examined and her death was reclassified as a homicide.
The judge has in recent days made several rulings in prosecutors' favor, granting them permission to present hearsay evidence central to their case.
Hearsay, or statements not based on the direct knowledge of a witness, is usually not admissible in court, but Illinois passed a law in the wake of the Peterson case that allows it in certain circumstances.
On Tuesday, Patton was questioning one of the state's most compelling witnesses when she made her mistake.
Former police officer Teresa Kernc had just told jurors about interviewing Savio in 2002 after Peterson allegedly broke into Savio's home in a SWAT uniform and repeatedly pushed her to the ground.
At one point, Savio allegedly told Peterson, "Go ahead and do what you came to do: Kill me," Kernc testified.
"He said, 'Where do you want it?' And she said, 'In the head.'" Kernc testified.
Peterson then allegedly told Savio to turn her head, which Savio did, Kernc said, based on what Savio told her.
"And then he said, 'I can't kill you,'" she told jurors. Peterson then threw a garage opener to the ground and left.
Shortly after Kernc finished telling that story, Patton turned and asked, "Did she tell you she wanted to get an order of protection?"
The defense objected to Patton's question, and the judge asked jurors to leave the room.
Kernc took to the stand again Wednesday.
Peterson is also a suspect in Stacy Peterson's disappearance, although he has never been charged in her case. She is presumed dead but a body has never been found.
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This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (11/26-12/2)
30 photos Launch gallery
1. Little Legend and Puddy 😍😍😍😍
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2. "You on point Phife?" "all the time,Tip". 💥 #bannedfromnormal
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3. Vegan! The Impossible burger at Crossroads
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4. Lawrence #BeforeandAfterEpisodes 1-4: 184lbs 13% body fatEpisode 8: 196lbs 8% body fat S/O @coachdaveboxing with the works outs and @kildareriordan with the nutrition
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5. Jus haaaanngin out
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6. Meanwhile back at home in Atlanta GA someone mad they not on the 🛳. 😳
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7. No limits... Photo cred: Chris Bridges @ludacris
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8. new new
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9. Apparently my 260lbs is too much for the actual vines in the Hawaiian jungles to hold me without breaking and me falling hundreds of feet. So for safety purposes, I'm forced to swing thru #Jumanjj on wires strong enough to hold 12 adult buffaloes and 1 adult Rock. #OnSet #Jumanji #IronicallyIEatBuffaloDailyForLunch #MoreManThanNatureKnowsWhatToDoWith
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10. hey ma! 🎎#wcw 💙
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11. Surprise visit to our factories!!! #GoodAmerican #USA
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13. Peachy Keen 🔥✨⚡️
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14. If this don't look thankful I don't know what does. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. #UltraBlessed #24kMagic #SweetPotatoFly
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15. Late nights @nbcmarlon with the writers... we in here!!!
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16. There goes my baaaaaaaaabbbbyyyyy #QueenKingMagic!!! We're up to something! Ira BIG!!! Stay out our buisness -
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17. You want to win every game you play but when you come home to these faces... who cares. #ILoveYouGirls best part of my day, everyday!
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18. Steady,steady..... full size jenga.. "I got this one "???? Or do I ?
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19. Cornrows kind of day 😉@dontaysavoy2 you convinced me and I love. ❤️️
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20. #BrotherlyLove #tbt
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22. #basel #TeamLOVE @kingcombs
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23. Just introduced a special screening of @directher 's groundbreaking (must see) documentary @13thfilm with my brother @themichaelealy | @unitedblackout #blackoutblackfriday
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24. Me & Vanessa Williams giving #DuckLips #Pose on the set of #DaytimeDivas @vh1 - Coming Soon to a tv near you. Lol. - My make up done by @makeupsurgeon
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25. This picture just makes me wanna praise the Lord, you hear me!!!!!! Yes Lord brotha #TEDDYCAMPBELL What a #man !!! You are everything right on this picture husband ......... #gorgeous #stylish #classy #strong #masculine #king #sexy #debonair #gentlemenstyle And that #bible in your hand just seals the deal for me (probably cause i know that, that is what helped you become just as amazing as you look😘). While my heart and mind experiences the goodness of God at #church on Sundays, my eyes experiences the goodness of Teddy😍. Amen somebody🙌🏽. "Bless the Lord oh my soul and all that is within me bless his holy name" #myman #myhusband #goodman #blackman #dapperman #godlyman #goodfather #mybestfriend
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26. Yesterday was my mama's 53rd birthday!!!!! Got to celebrate with her all day. If this is what I have to look forward to I can't wait. Looking like a soft bucket a cocoa butter. Yaaaaaaaaaas! 😍😍😍 love you mommy!
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27. "Shout out to @PureAtlanta for getting the family right"....I'm loving this jogger. 😍😍
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28. This pic warms my heart ❤️ #myLogiebeans and aunt aunt umba @itowandabraxton 😘
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29. You will always be my baby😜. #HappyBirthdayReginae #mybaby18
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30. GC "Gods Child" Red on Red SweatSuit available now at www.MonicaApparel.com ... Take Your Crown wherever you go!! I'm pictured in a Medium... Go to the site now for other options ... cc: @trukernell
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