(Photo: Reuters/John Gress)
Drew Peterson is currently standing trial for the murder of his third wife, Kathleen Savio. A new witness for the defense has alleged that Peterson offered him $25,000 to kill Savio in 2004, though prosecutors are certain that Peterson killed her himself.
Jeff Pachter, a former cable contractor who worked with Peterson, testified that he was offered $25,000 to kill Savio. Peterson was afraid that Savio would reveal a secret that could cost him his job, Pachter told the judge.
"He asked if I could find someone to take care of his third wife," Pachter explained. Defense attorneys, however, have refuted Pachter's claims and have explained that he was merely looking for his 15 minutes of fame.
The trial has been the culmination of work by detectives determined to prove that Peterson killed his fourth wife. In 2004, Savio was found dead in her empty bathtub under unusual circumstances. The official cause of death was marked as drowning, though an expert testified on Tuesday that a blow to the back of her head was not enough to knock her unconscious.
"I didn't see anything in that tub that would cause that head injury," Dr. Mary Case told the courtroom. That means someone would have had to have held Savio underwater until she drowned.
Peterson, a former police officer in Illinois, was arrested after his fourth wife, Stacy, went missing. He was officially named a suspect in 2007, and Stacy's disappearance also led to the exhumation of Kathleen Savio's body. One year later, her death, which had previously been classified "accidental drowning," was changed to "homicide."
He was formally indicted for Savio's murder in 2009 and has been in prison awaiting trial ever since. Prosecutors are attempting to make the case that Peterson killed Savio, and possibly Stacy, but his lawyers argue that it was a tragic accident.
Stacy's family has argued that Peterson is also guilty of her disappearance, saying that she knew he had killed Savio and wanted to leave him. Peterson has been linked to, but not charged with, her disappearance. She is presumed dead by authorities, and her family has no closure in the situation.
Many have speculated whether Peterson would ever see the inside of a courtroom, given his request for mistrial. A judge was expected to rule on Aug. 15, but Peterson changed his mind and decided to stand trial and prove his innocence.