- (Photo: Reuters/John Gress)
Drew Peterson had one final thought before he was taken to prison to begin serving a 38-year sentence. "I did not kill Kathleen!" he yelled in the courtroom before being taken away.
Peterson's trial was one of the most highly watched in Illinois; the former cop had been charged with the murder of his third wife, Kathleen Savio. She was found dead in her bathtub and police initially ruled the death accidental until rumors about Peterson's behavior and past caused them to take another look at the scene of the crime.
The coroner later ruled that Savio had been purposely drowned in the tub and Peterson was taken into custody. He faced up to 60 years in prison for Savio's murder, but Judge Edward Burmila gave Peterson some leniency in honor of his "years as a police officer and service in the military," KTLA 5 reported.
"I don't deserve this," Peterson told the judge. "I don't deserve this. I hope I don't aggravate the situation here, but I have a lot of things to be said. I did not kill Kathleen!" he yelled.
A woman in the courtroom yelled back at Peterson and was promptly removed from the area.
"Ma'am, I'd like you to leave the courtroom," Judge Burmila said. "And Mr. Peterson, don't make any outbursts that are designed to aggravate people."
"I'm sorry, your honor," Peterson replied. "I must have been woozy."
Peterson has always maintained his innocence and said yesterday that people conspired against him in this particular case.
"Hearsay is a scary thing. There's no proof. Anything can be said and nobody's accountable for the truth. In my experience, in divorce situations everybody lies, and everybody lies under the instruction of their attorneys," Peterson said. He even accused his young sons of lying to the judge as part of the conspiracy.
Peterson is also believed to have killed his fourth wife, Stacy, who went missing. Prosecutors may still bring charges against Peterson in that case, though nothing has been finalized. For now, he will reside at a prison in Illinois until he turns 97.