Reported by: Mandy McGlothlin
National Freelance Reporter
It has been a courtroom full of fireworks with multiple objections and motions for mistrials during the first 2 weeks of testimony in the trial of the State of Illinois vs. Drew Peterson. Peterson is charged with first degree murder of Kathleen Savio, his third wife.
After sitting in the packed courtroom for the first eight days of the trial, I’ve completely changed my initial impression of the jurors that was made after jury selection.
During jury selection, they appeared nervous while being questioned by attorneys, sitting alone, with Peterson and the world watching their every move. I have noticed a marked change in the demeanor of the female jurors since the trial began. I saw four of the five female jurors sitting up in their seats, eyes steady, taking furious notes, not intimidated by the process.
They seem to be strong, confident women that will not be easily swayed by overbearing opinions of other jurors during deliberations. Unlike other murder trial juries I have seen and reported on, this group is really engaged and appear to understand the importance of the job they have been asked to do. The fact that they dress nice every day is yet one more sign that tells me they are taking this process very serious.
On two separate occasions I witnessed anger in the faces of two male jurors. This anger was directed at Drew Peterson during the testimony of Anna Doman, Kathleen Savio’s older sister. Ms. Doman testified that, “Drew told [Kathy] he was going to kill her,” and that “she was not going to make it through the divorce settlement.”
I observed one woman in the jury look directly at Peterson when Doman described Drew’s unexpected appearance at the Savio home the day after Kathleen’s death. At the time, her family was inside taking care of Kathleen’s personal matters. Doman stated “Drew came to the front door... banging and yelling, ‘Open the door!’ as if it was an emergency.”
Seven jurors were taking notes when Doman said, “Drew was frantic when he came in the house… like he was in a hurry.” He told Doman that he was there to get clothes for the boys, but instead of going into the boy’s rooms, he went into Kathleen’s bedroom closet.
Six jurors also took notes when Doman testified that Peterson took $100 out of Savio’s purse explaining, “This belongs to the boys.”
In contrast, Peterson has been quite nice to me saying, “Good morning,” on two different days. He’s not what I’ve seen on TV. He may not appear to be the same person he used to be but that could just be the charm that so many women have fallen for.
As additional witnesses are questioned throughout the trial, we may see even greater changes in the jury. My mom always said, “Sometimes the quietest people can be the loudest when it comes to what they believe in."
(revised: Aug 13, 2012 9:00 am)