Prosecutors: Peterson offered $10,000 for prosecutor’s death
Former suburban Chicago police officer Drew Peterson offered a fellow inmate $10,000 to kill the state's attorney who prosecuted him for his third wife's death, a southern Illinois prosecutor said Monday at the start of Peterson's murder-for-hire trial.
The former Bolingbrook police sergeant was motivated by "anger, hatred, revenge" against Will County State's Attorney James Glasgow, Randolph County State's Attorney Jeremy Walker told jurors during his opening statement, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.
The inmate, identified in court as Antonio Smith, reported the offer to authorities and agreed to help secretly record Peterson, according to prosecutors.
Those wiretapped conversations, which are expected to be played in court during a weeklong trial, include Peterson discussing his 2012 conviction of first-degree murder in the 2004 death of ex-wife Kathleen Savio, according to a pretrial motion filed by prosecutors. Peterson also discusses his fear that Glasgow will prosecute him for murder in the 2007 disappearance of his fourth wife, Stacey Peterson, the pretrial motion indicates.
Drew Peterson, 62, has never been charged in Stacey Peterson's disappearance and has maintained innocence. He is serving a 38-year sentence in Savio's death at the Menard Correctional Center 60 miles south of St. Louis and is appealing that conviction to the Illinois Supreme Court.
Peterson has pleaded not guilty to charges of solicitation of murder for hire and solicitation of murder related to Glasgow. He faces an additional 60 years in prison if convicted of those charges.
"They're going to sensationalize the heck out of this thing," defense attorney Lucas Liefer told the jurors. "Do not give in to this approach."
Peterson's animus toward Glasgow -- whom Walker said he wanted killed on the elected prosecutor's way to or from his Joliet office -- apparently extended beyond Glasgow's role in helping put him behind bars.
On the recordings, Peterson purportedly blames Glasgow for efforts to revoke Peterson's $79,000 annual police pension. He also says Glasgow is the reason that Peterson's son, Stephen, lost his job at the Oak Brook Police Department over what authorities said were the younger Peterson's efforts to obstruct the investigation into Savio's death.
In testimony Monday, Glasgow called the imprisoned Peterson a "coward" and a "thug" who would "threaten people because he had a gun and a badge." Glasgow testified that he listened to about 15 minutes of the Peterson wiretap, the Chicago Tribune reported.
"The word `kill' wasn't used, but the implication of kill was there," Glasgow testified. "Based on 36 years of experience in law enforcement, from my listening of the tape, it was clear to me there was going to be my demise."
Walker said Smith, the prison informant, didn't receive a reduced sentence for his cooperation but was paid $3,200 by the FBI to replace property lost after he was transferred to the federal prison system following his involvement with Peterson.
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