(CHICAGO) — Former Illinois cop Drew Peterson yelled, “I did not kill Kathleen!” during the sentencing phase of his trial Thursday — and then a judge sentenced him to 38 years in jail for killing her.
The sentence came after Will County Judge Edward Burmila denied Peterson a re-trial in the killing of his third wife, Kathleen Savio, in 2004.
Peterson had faced as many as 60 years in prison.
At his sentencing, after Peterson shouted that he did not kill his wife, someone in the courtroom yelled in reply, “Yes you did!” according to ABC News Chicago station WLS. Burmila then ordered that person to leave the courtroom.
Peterson’s defense team had requested a re-trial after he was found guilty in September of killing Savio and making it look like an accident.
The re-trial, Peterson’s attorneys claimed, was warranted because his former lead trial counsel, Joel Brodsky, had “single-handedly” lost the trial last fall, according to attorney Steve Greenberg. Greenberg is a former colleague of Brodsky’s, but the two have recently been embroiled in a bitter public feud.
Burmila rejected all of the motions for a new trial and, as he said he would do, moved on to sentencing immediately.
It is the latest development in the bizarre story of Peterson, a former suburban Chicago police officer. In 2004, Peterson’s third wife, Savio, was found dead in her bathtub, a death that was initially ruled an accident. But when his fourth wife, Stacy Peterson, disappeared in 2007, Savio’s body was exhumed and her death ruled a homicide.
Drew Peterson has never been charged in connection with Stacy Peterson’s case.
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Jacqueline Howard, CNN
Kathryn Vasel, CNN
Steve Almasy, CNN