Friday, August 3, 2012

Judge : No Mistrial In Drew Peterson Murder Trial.

A  judge said Thursday that he believed Drew Peterson could receive a fair trial in his murder case, but not before chiding prosecutors for entering inadmissible evidence and criticizing them in front of jurors.

Testimony resumed with paramedics and a locksmith shortly after the resolution of the in-court legal drama, which came close to ending the high-profile trial before it had barely begun.
The 58-year-old Peterson is charged with first-degree murder in the 2004 death of his third wife, Kathleen Savio, whose body was found in a dry bathtub. He also is a suspect in the 2007 disappearance of his fourth wife, Stacy Peterson, but has never been charged in her case.
On Thursday morning, Judge Edward Burmila instructed jurors that a prosecutor had asked a question Wednesday "she knew would elicit an inadmissible response." Thomas Pontarelli testified Wednesday that he found a bullet in his driveway and believed Peterson put it there to intimidate him.

But Burmila, who angrily told prosecutors Wednesday he was leaning toward wiping out everything Pontarelli said, backed off.

"The court believes that the defendant's ability to receive a fair trial is not extinguished at this time," Burmila told attorneys before bringing the jury back and instructing them disregard the last few minutes of Pontarelli's testimony.

It was the latest legal hurdle of many in a saga that stretches back nearly a decade. A botched initial investigation left prosecutors with no physical evidence. Savio's cause of death wasn't changed from accidental to a homicide until her body was exhumed in 2007. And prosecutors have been forced them to rely heavily on normally prohibited more