Drew Peterson caught an entire courtroom off-guard three years ago when he declared his innocence with a shriek that may still be echoing somewhere in downtown Joliet.
“I did not kill Kathleen!” Peterson cried in one final outburst before he was sentenced to 38 years in prison for murder.
Peterson’s notorious February 2013 scream — and the rambling rant that followed — is amonga pile of raw recordings and transcripts released Tuesday to the Chicago Sun-Times by Randolph County State’s Attorney Jeremy Walker.
Susan Doman, a sister of victim Kathleen Savio, can be heard retorting on the tapes after Peterson’s outburst: “Yes, you did.” She then calls Peterson a liar before she is removed from the courtroom.
A jury in the downstate city of Chestertook barely an hour last week to hand Peterson a second conviction for enlisting a Satan’s Disciple known as “Beast” in a plot to have Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow killed. The tapes were all used as evidence during thetrial.
Walker even kicked off opening statements in the case with words from Peterson’s 2013 sentencing rant, in which Peterson challenged Glasgow to look him in the eye.
“Never forget my face,” Peterson told Glasgow. “Never forget what you have done here.”
Glasgow led the prosecution team that secured Peterson’s 2012 conviction for the murder of Savio, Peterson’sthird wife. After Peterson’s 2013 sentencing hearing, Glasgow referred to Peterson’s outburst as a “feminine screech.”
“We all got an opportunity to see a psychopath reveal himself in court,” Glasgow said in 2013.
As notorious as Peterson’s rant may be, relatively few people have had the opportunity to hear it before Tuesday’s release. Will County Judge Edward Burmila presided over Peterson’s2013 sentencing hearing, and he can be heard on the tapes, as well.
While Peterson’s sentencing speech may be the highlight of the newly public recordings, the bulk of them contain rambling conversations between Peterson and the Satan’s Disciple, whose real name is Antonio Smith. Smith wore an FBI wire on Peterson as the two discussed the murder-for-hire plot.
The lengthy, raw recordings were made amid the noisy world of Menard Correctional Center, located on the banks of the Mississippi River and home to Illinois’ most violent criminals. The recordings are at times inaudible, and jurors in Randolph County were given transcripts to help them follow along.
However, prosecutors say they contain key comments from Peterson setting the plot to kill Glasgow into motion. The recording device was preprogrammed to record at times when Smith and Peterson would be together.
During a recording played at trial from Nov. 13, 2014, Smith questioned Peterson about his hope to get out of prison “with Glasgow gone, right?”
Peterson said, “Yes, it’ll get me out.” Smith asked if “it’s a go, a 100 percent?” And Peterson replied, “it’s better.”
“Because what he’s doing is, he’s f—ing beating me under the table,” Peterson said. “He’s calling these judges or going golfing with them or some f—ing thing. So with that happening, how, how can you fight that?”
The next day, Peterson said “he’s the one that got my kid fired. He’s the one that’s uh, uh, had ‘em screw with my other kids and, you know, the colleges and stuff.” He said Glasgow is an “a–hole.”
Peterson bellyached about his first trial while being secretly recorded. Randolph County jurors heard Peterson say on tape that Glasgow will “never leave me alone,” and he blamed his imprisonment on former attorney Joel Brodsky, who he called his “idiot f–ing lawyer.”
He even fantasized on the tapes about life after prison —a far less likely prospect after Peterson’s latest conviction, which carries a minimum 20-year prison sentence. He can be heard musing to Smith on the recordings about joining a Mexican cartel.
Finally, Peterson was recorded telling Smith about his fourth wife, Stacy, who disappeared without a trace in 2007. Peterson remains the prime suspect in her demise.
“Stacy’s still alive,” Peterson said. “Running around out there.”