| JOLIET, Ill., July 31
JOLIET, Ill., July 31 Opening statements are set
for Tuesday in the trial of a former suburban Chicago policeman
charged with murdering his third wife found dead in a bathtub in
2004, after suspicions were raised when his fourth wife
disappeared three years later.
Drew Peterson, a former cop in the Chicago suburb of
Bolingbrook, is charged with killing third wife Kathleen Savio,
who was found by Peterson and some neighbors dead in her dry
bathtub in March 2004.
State police investigators decided almost immediately that
Savio perished in a freak bathtub accident and did not scour her
home for murder evidence.
They reviewed that conclusion after Peterson's fourth wife,
Stacy Peterson, disappeared in October, 2007. She has never been
found and police presume she is dead.
Following the disappearance of Stacy Peterson, authorities
exhumed third wife Savio's body and a new autopsy suggested she
had been murdered.
Peterson was charged with murdering Savio but has not been
charged in the disappearance of Stacy Peterson despite being the
only suspect in what police describe as a "potential homicide."
The strange circumstances involving Peterson's last two
wives have drawn national attention to the case. Even before the
trial began, the Lifetime television network aired in January a
movie called "Untouchable," starring Rob Lowe as Drew Peterson.
The movie garnered record ratings of nearly 6 million
viewers for the network.
Experts said the case could be tricky to prove for
prosecutors because of the lack of physical evidence.
Prosecutors are expected to try to use statements made by Stacy
Peterson, who they say told others before she disappeared that
Peterson killed third wife Savio.
The judge presiding in the case, Edward Burmila, already has
dealt prosecutors a blow, saying the jury cannot be told Stacy
Peterson is missing and possibly dead. Jurors will only be told
that she is not available to testify.
(Editing by Greg McCune and Philip Barbara)