By Steve Schmadeke, Matthew Walberg and Stacy St. Clair
8:50 PM EDT, September 6, 2012
Continual coverage of Drew Peterson's conviction for murdering his third wife, Kathleen Savio.
7:50 p.m. Final holdout swayed by hearsay testimony
The final holdout juror said he finally decided Drew Peterson was guilty after talking with other jurors this morning.
“After talking with them, in my mind I reached (that he was guilty beyond) reasonable doubt,” Supalo said. “It was only the hearsay that convicted him. If the hearsay law hadn’t been passed, he wouldn’t have been found guilty.”
6:20 p.m. Juror says verdict 'was a tough decision'
One juror said the verdict "was a tough decision. . .We had to do what we had to do, but I think it was just."
Asked about his opinion of Drew Peterson, the juror said: "He's a good father and he had good defense attorneys but. . .I think the decision speaks for itself."
5:55 p.m. Media gathers in Peterson neighborhood
Four TV vans lined the street in front of Peterson's Bolingbrook home, but Peterson's oldest son, Stephen, declined interview requests. He also declined comment when reached by phone.
The refusal left the assembled camera crews to train their lenses on front of the house, tracking the silhouettes of those inside.
Stephen Peterson has raised his four younger step-siblings, his father's two sons with Kathleen Savio and a son and daughter born to Stacy Peterson who were toddlers when she disappeared in 2007.
Stephen Peterson was fired from his job as an Oak Brook police officer after officials there said he obstructed an investigation by not telling investigators his father gave him several guns shortly after Stacy's disappearance.
A few houses away, a neighbor watched the crowd of reporters forming outside the Peterson house, a scene that has become familiar to residents in the Pheasant Chase subdivision.
"I'm sure there's going to be an appeal, and it's going to stay a circus around here for a while," said the man, who declined to give his name.
"Hopefully, the public will leave (Peterson's) children alone."
5:50 p.m. Attorneys linger at courthouse
More than two hours after Drew Peterson was found guilty, prosecutors and defense attorneys lingered among the crowd of reporters and onlookers on the lawn outside the courthouse.
Assistant State's Attorney John Connor and his colleagues Kathy Griffin and Chris Koch gave repeated media interviews, insisting that the case was not about getting Peterson, but getting justice for Kathleen Savio.
"Again, this case has always been about Kathleen Savio," Koch said when asked how it felt to see Peterson transformed from defendant to convict. "And to be able to turn to the family....that's the most important thing in this case, that they were able to know that justice was served."
Prosecutors said they believe the case will be upheld on appeal, but Connor acknowledged it was the most difficult case he has tried.
"This was definitely the most complex case, just due to the sheer number of witnesses and the many legal issues," he said.
The fact that the case turned heavily on hearsay statements and medical testimony didn't help in a society conditioned to expect smoking guns and videotaped confessions.
"In a post 'CSI' world, it's very difficult, especially when you don't have DNA," Connor said, before he was pulled away for a hug from a grateful Candace Aiken, Stacy Peterson's aunt.
5:35 p.m. Juror's father: 'It's been five very long weeks'
Eddie Saldana, the father of juror Eduardo Saldana, said shortly before 5 p.m. that his son had not returned to their Bolingbrook home and was at a restaurant with some fellow jurors.
"I just talked to him. They are eating somewhere, probably decompressing a little bit," he said.
The elder Saldana said his son asked him to relay the message that he did not wish to speak with reporters today.
"He's very tired," he said. "It's been five very long weeks."
Asked if he thought his son was relieved the trial was over, he said, "Actually he's been very quiet for the last five weeks. He's been extremely quiet. When he comes in we've had to turn the news off, but he's a sports guy - football and baseball."
5:25 p.m. Statement on Facebook page of Peterson's son
Following is a statement posted to the Facebook page of Tom Peterson, Drew Peterson’s son:
“To say the least...I'm extremely disappointed. During the past 5 years...I got to see full grown adults act like children, and now they are parading around my front door. Who do I have left? Who do my siblings have left? Oh yeah...the pastor, the lawyer, my aunts, and all of my mom's friends who LISTENED to my mother's pleas and DIDN'T do anything about it. Now she is dead, and you went forth to break the Constitution to blame my dad. I'm sorry, but that doesn't seem very believable to me...but since the rest of the world thinks otherwise, this is your fault, you should have come forward earlier. Now, I have a broken family without a salary, and some woman who sees it important to bully me over the internet because of my Dad. I hope you are all happy.”
4:15 p.m. Verdict 'a very sobering moment'
State's Atty. James Glasgow called the verdict “a very sobering moment” and said it makes a statement about violence against women. He called Peterson “a coward and a bully.”
Glasgow thanked the jury and thanked Savio's family members, who he said “were with us through the entire matter.” He also thanked the Illinois State Police for reconstructing the case.
4:05 p.m. Murder charges in Stacy Peterson case?
State's Atty. James Glasgow says he has not ruled out charging Drew Peterson with the death of Peterson's fourth wife, Stacy, who has been missing since 2007. "The longer someone is missing, the easier it is to prove they're dead."
Glasgow also said he will present evidence about Stacy's disappearance at Peterson's sentencing to get the stiffest penalty possible.
Glasgow said he was on the phone praying with the Rev. Neil Schori, Stacy's pastor, shortly before verdict came in.
Schori provided key prosecution testimony during the trial. He testified that Stacy told him Peterson came home late one night wearing all black and carrying a bag of women's clothing that were not hers. Prosecutors say that was around the time Savio was killed.
4 p.m. 'Great deal of solemnity'
Here's the complete statement from jurors after reaching a guilty verdict:
“We have taken the responsibility bestowed on us by the court with a great deal of solemnity and diligence. After much deliberation, we have reached a decision we believe is just.”
3:55 p.m. Defense team booed
Drew Peterson's attorneys were booed as they approached microphones to speak with reporters.
"Thank you," said attorney Joseph Lopez.
Another Peterson attorney, Joel Brodsky, said "a conviction is the first step in a successful appeal."
3:50 p.m. Jurors say they reached 'just'' verdict
Jurors released a statement saying "after much deliberation we have reached a decision we believe is just."
3:45 p.m. Lawyer says verdict will be appealed
An attorney for Drew Peterson said the defense team will appeal the conviction.
Attorney Ralph Meczyk said the defense raised reasonable doubt in the case. He said Peterson was sad, but didn't say much after the guilty verdict was read.
Sentencing has been set for Nov. 26.
3:40 p.m. Crowd mocks defense lawyers
As the defense team spoke to reporters, a crowd gathered along the street behind the cameras and mocked them.
"Losers," they shouted. "Go home. Get out of Will County!"
3:20 p.m. Singing outside courthouse
Outside the courthouse, people are singing a song called "Drew the Lady Killer" to the tune of "Puff the Magic Dragon."
Dozens of people are cheering. Car and truck drivers honk their horns as they drive past.
3:15 p.m. 'I don't see you laughing now'
Nick Savio, the brother of Kathleen Savio, choked up outside the courthouse, calling the verdict "bittersweet."
"It's better than a White Sox World Series win," Savio said, his face quivering with emotion. "This has been a very long time coming."
He read a brief statement from the Savio family saying Kathleen can "now rest in peace."
"We all love her and will never forget her," Nick Savio said. The family said they plan to visit Kathleen's grave today and tell her the news.
Asked what he would say to Drew Peterson if he could speak to him, Nick Savio said he would tell him to "go have a cigar with your defense team. . .in jail. I don't see you laughing now."
3:10 p.m. Stacy's family holds out hope
Pam Bosco, a spokeswoman for the family of Peterson's fourth wife, Stacy, said she hopes Stacy has her day in court too. Stacy Peterson disappeared in 2007.
Bosco said she believes it was Stacy's words that convicted Peterson. Now she hopes Peterson is charged with Stacy's murder.
"This man has to pay for Stacy," she said. "She still has a case."
3:06 p.m. Proud of prosecutors
Former Asst. State's Attorney Nicole Moore, one of the original prosecutors in case, said she was happy with the verdict and proud of the prosecution team.
3 p.m. Peterson tells lawyers, 'Good job.'
Drew Peterson showed no reaction as the verdict was read, but the family of Kathleen Savio hugged and cried. Someone yelled out, "Yes," and raised her hands.
The family thanked State's Atty. James Glasgow as Peterson was shackled.
Peterson looked grim as he told his attorneys, "Good job."
Anna Doman, the sister of Kathleen Savio, said: "I'm so glad its over! We waited years for this."
2:55 p.m. ' It was beautiful'
Outside the courtroom, Kathleen Savio's family and supporters hugged and cried along with witnesses who testified for the state.
"I knew it," said Savio's brother-in-law Mitch Doman. "Now I can go out there and say he's a murdering bastard. You can print that. You can put it in a headline.
"It was like a big burden lifted off our shoulders. We knew he did it, but we couldn't do nothing about it," he told a Tribune reporter.
Mary Parks, the Joliet Junior College classmate of Savio who testified at trial, came out of the courtroom beaming. "I just knew," she said. "I didn't doubt it. I just knew it would be this way. It was beautiful."
2:50 p.m. Cheers outside courthouse
A crowd of about 75 people awaiting the news outside the courthouse started buzzing as word spread about a guilty verdict.
Someone shouted, "Guilty!" and cheers erupted.
2:47 p.m. Peterson shows no emotion
Drew Peterson showed no emotion when the verdict was announced.
2:45 p.m. Jurors being polled
Judge Edward Burmila is polling the jury on their verdict.
2:44 p.m. Peterson has been found guiltyThere was an audible gasp in the courtroom when the guilty verdict was announced.
Copyright © 2014 Chicago Tribune Company, LLC