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Drew Peterson
Zbigniew Bzdak/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

Drew Peterson

Murderer (1954–)
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Former police sergeant Drew Peterson was convicted in the 2004 murder of his third wife, Kathleen Savio. He was also named a suspect in 2007 in the disappearance of his fourth wife, Stacy Peterson.


Convicted killer Drew Peterson was born on January 5, 1954. After high school, he married and went into the U.S. Army. Peterson went through several more marriages after joining the Bolingbrook Police Department in Illinois in 1977. He became a suspect in the 2007 disappearance of his fourth wife, Stacy Peterson, and was later convicted in the murder of his third wife, Kathleen Savio.

Early Years

Convicted murderer Drew Peterson's romantic life seemed to have a happy start. He attended Willowbrook High School in Villa Park, Illinois. A cross-country team member, Peterson dated Carol Hamilton (later Carol Brown), and took her to his senior prom. He graduated in 1972, and joined the military soon after.

Peterson served in the U.S. Army from 1972 to 1976, spending most of his time as a military police officer. While in the army, Peterson married his high school sweetheart Carol. The couple had two sons together. He joined the Bolingbrook Police Department in 1977. Three years later, Carol and Drew divorced, amicably by all accounts.

Troubled Times

After his marriage to Carol ended, Peterson dated Kyle Piry. After four months, though, Piry broke it off. She later claimed that he abused his position as a police officer to harass her.

In 1982, Peterson married Vicki Connolly. The couple seemed content at first. They helped each other raise their children from previous relationships and ran a bar together for a time. "When it was good, it was wonderful, it was great. But when it was bad, it was really bad," Connolly later told the Chicago Tribune.

Connolly said that Peterson became unfaithful and controlling. She even claimed that he bugged their home so that he could keep track of her. Peterson also ran into trouble at work. He had been an undercover narcotics officer for several years when he investigated for misconduct in 1985. The Bolingbrook Fire and Police Commission decided that Peterson was guilty of disobedience and failing to report a bribe, among other infractions. He was fired, but he was reinstated the following year after appealing his case.

Mysterious Death

Peterson's marriage to Connolly fell apart in 1992 over his infidelities. He was having an affair with Kathleen Savio, and he and Connolly divorced that year. Not long after the divorce, Savio and Peterson married and eventually had two sons together, Thomas and Kristopher.

The union did not remain happy for long, however. Savio got an order of protection from Peterson in 2002, claiming that he had physically abused her. The couple divorced in 2003, without finalizing their financial arrangements. That October, Peterson married for the fourth time. He wed Stacy Cales, who was 30 years younger than him. Peterson and Cales had been having an affair during his marriage to Savio.

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Peterson and Savio were set to resolve their outstanding issues regarding their divorce in April 2004. But Savio never made it to the hearing. She was found dead in her bathtub on March 1, 2004. Her hair was damp, but the bathtub was dry. At the time, Savio's death was ruled an accidental drowning. Many of her family members, however, believed that Savio had been murdered.

Stacy Peterson Disappears

On October 28, 2007, Drew Peterson's fourth wife, 23-year-old Stacy Peterson, disappeared. She was supposed to go to her sister's place to help do some painting that day, but she never showed up. Drew Peterson said that he received a phone call from his wife that night, claiming that she had left him for another man. Her family reported her missing, insisting that Stacy would never have abandoned her two children. Friends also said that Stacy had been preparing to leave her husband.

Authorities and volunteers conducted an extensive search, but they found no trace of Stacy Peterson. Meanwhile, Drew Peterson quickly became a suspect in the case. He seemed unconcerned about his wife's disappearance, joking around with the media and making flippant remarks about Stacy. On the Today show, he brushed off any talk of Stacy wanting to leave him. "I'm not trying to be funny here, but Stacy Peterson would ask me for a divorce ... on a regular basis, and it was based on her menstrual cycle."

Stacy's disappearance led investigators to revisit the death of Peterson's third wife, Kathleen Savio. In November 2007, her body was exhumed and re-examined. The second report on her death, released in February 2008, declared it a homicide.

Convicted of Murder

In 2009, Drew Peterson was indicted on two counts of first-degree murder in the death of Kathleen Savio. He was taken into custody that May and remained behind bars before his trial. Much of the case against Peterson relied on information that Savio gave to other people. Usually such hearsay evidence isn't allowed in court cases, but the Illinois legislature passed a special law in 2008 to make exceptions in certain cases.

Even with this new law in place, a Illinois court prohibited the use of eight of the 14 second-hand statements by prosecutors. Prosecutors appealed that decision in 2011, but an appellate court upheld the ruling.

In January 2012, a movie based on Peterson's story aired on Lifetime. The film, Untouchable, starred Rob Lowe as Drew Peterson.

On September 6, 2012, 58-year-old Peterson was convicted of first-degree murder in the death of his third wife, Kathleen Savio. According to an article by The Associated Press, the 12 jurors assigned to the case came to a guilty verdict upon hearing incriminating testimony against Peterson by several witnesses. The guilty verdict was announced after two days and more than 13 hours of deliberation by jury members. Peterson had faced a maximum 60-year prison term (the state of Illinois does not have the death penalty), but in February 2013, he was sentenced to 38 years. "I did not kill Kathleen!" Peterson shouted upon hearing the sentence in court.Family members of Stacy Peterson stated that they hoped Peterson's murder conviction in Salvo's case would lead to new developments in Stacy's case, which is still under investigation. At the time of Peterson's conviction, Stacy Peterson's body had still not been found by detectives.

In February 2015, Peterson was charged with trying to arrange a hit on James Glasgow, Will County State’s Attorney. Stemming from activities occurring over a yearlong period from September 2013 and December 2014, Peterson was charged with one count of solicitation of murder for hire and one count of solicitation of murder. In March 2016, Illinois Supreme Court agreed to hear an appeal by Peterson to throw out his conviction. The case is scheduled for sometime in 2017.

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