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Drew Peterson told wife he ‘was going to kill her’: sister

Updated: September 5, 2012 6:04AM

Over and over again, Anna Doman said, her younger sister demanded a promise.

Early in 2004, the woman she knew as “Kitty” came to her home in Romeoville. It was Kathleen Savio. And she looked scared.

Doman said Savio wanted her to promise she would take care of Savio’s two sons if anything happened to her — “I want to hear you say it,” Savio purportedly said.

“Drew had told her he was ... he was going to kill her,” Doman said. “She was not going to make it through the divorce settlement.”

The jury deciding whether former Bolingbrook Police Sgt. Drew Peterson killed Savio heard every word of that Friday as his prosecutors injected their first piece of hearsay evidence into his trial.

But instead of offering passionate objections, Peterson’s legal team went to work trying to undermine Doman’s credibility. They repeatedly pointed out she didn’t come forward with her concerns about Peterson until 2007 — the year of the highly publicized disappearance of Peterson’s fourth wife, Stacy.

And for the first time since the trial began, lawyers found themselves dancing around Judge Edward Burmila’s order not to mention the presumed death of the woman who triggered Peterson’s eventual indictment when she vanished nearly five years ago.

“No one would listen,” Doman said, explaining that she tried to report her suspicions about Savio’s death much earlier.

After court ended early for the day — a juror was sick and couldn’t stop coughing — Peterson’s lawyers offered a different explanation.

“She’s making it up,” defense attorney Joel Brodsky said.

The legal battles over this kind of testimony delayed Peterson’s trial for two years. Will County prosecutors have said it makes up a critical portion of the evidence they say will show the 58-year-old Peterson drowned his third wife in her bathtub.

So defense attorney Joseph Lopez went to work trying to pick apart Doman’s story on cross-examination. Doman, wearing a purple floral-print blouse, sometimes crinkled her face with frustration at some of his questions. She resisted telling the jurors she didn’t turn over documents to the Illinois State Police until after Stacy Peterson’s disappearance — more than three years later.

“It was later,” Doman said.

Lopez pressed on.

“Much later,” she said.

At one point Burmila warned her not look to the prosecution table before answering a question. Later, the judge repeatedly overruled prosecutors’ objections to questions about Savio’s death certificate saying, “the document speaks for itself.”

Doman finally countered one of Lopez’s questions with the same answer — “the document speaks for itself” — and the courtroom erupted in laughter. Burmila wasn’t amused, and he warned Doman not to mock him.

“I’m glad everyone thinks that that’s humorous,” Burmila said.

Doman recounted going to Savio’s house on March 2, 2004, a day after her sister was found dead in her bathtub. She said family members wanted to retrieve Savio’s will and insurance papers, adding Savio had told her she was leaving everything to her sons.

Peterson came over while Doman was there and began collecting items himself, Doman said.

At one point, Doman testified, Peterson took $100 from Savio’s purse and put it in his pocket, saying it belonged to the boys. She also said she saw him scrubbing the tub in the master bathroom where Savio died. As she described the moment she bent forward and bounced back and forth, recreating Peterson’s movements.

With jurors out of the room, prosecutors tried to convince Burmila to let them get closer to explaining to the jury why Savio’s family finally would step forward in 2007. Burmila warned prosecutors in May they can’t mention Stacy Peterson’s presumed death during the trial, and he refused to let them get into her disappearance Friday.

Doman was simply allowed to tell jurors she began seeking a pathologist in 2007 to re-examine her sister’s body after meeting TV news host Greta Van Susteren in the home of one of Peterson’s neighbors. She said she didn’t know who Van Susteren was until that day.

“I never heard of her,” Doman said.

Peterson’s trial continues Tuesday.

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