The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

AP story section

August 15, 2012

Peterson's lawyers withdraw mistrial motion

JOLIET, Ill. — Lawyers for Drew Peterson withdrew a motion for a mistrial Wednesday, saying the former Illinois police officer did not want a new jury to decide if he killed his third wife.

The defense attorneys also asked Judge Edward Burmila to declare all hearsay evidence in the murder trial inadmissible — a motion the judge again denied. Testimony resumed soon after.

Prosecutors are trying to prove that Peterson, 58, killed his third wife, Kathleen Savio, in 2004. He was charged after his fourth wife, Stacy Peterson, disappeared in 2007.

On Tuesday, Burmila admonished prosecutors for violating his order not to discuss whether Savio asked for an order of protection against Peterson. The prosecutor who mentioned the order apologized to the judge, but Peterson's attorneys called the prosecution's actions unfair and asked for a mistrial.

On Wednesday, as a hushed courtroom waited to hear the judge's decision on the mistrial motion, defense attorney Joe Lopez said his team was withdrawing the request.

"We are not giving the state a practice run," Lopez said. "This is a real race and Mr. Peterson wants the world to know that he's not afraid. He wants to keep this jury in its place."

The judge asked Peterson if he agreed with the move. He responded: "Yes."

On Tuesday, Burmila told prosecutor Kathleen Patton not to ask a witness in front of jurors about whether Savio had sought an order of protection against Peterson. When she did, the judge told jurors to leave the room and berated the prosecutor.

"There was one thing I told you not to go into and that's exactly what you did," Burmila told her.

Burmilla said Wednesday that both sides agree Savio did not seek an order of protection in July 2002.

"You are not to consider, infer or ponder for any purpose an order of protection," he told the jury.

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