Jurors deliberate at Drew Peterson's murder trialJurors at Drew Peterson's murder trial withdrew Wednesday to begin deliberations on whether the former Illinois police sergeant murdered his third wife.
JOLIET, Ill. (AP) — Jurors at Drew Peterson's murder trial withdrew Wednesday to begin deliberations on whether the former Illinois police sergeant murdered his third wife.
Peterson, 58, pleaded not guilty to murdering Kathleen Savio in 2004. The 58-year-old was only charged only after his fourth wife, Stacy Peterson, disappeared in 2007.
Judge Edward Burmila read 15 minutes of jury instructions to the panelists before they filed out to elect a foreman and then begin wading through five weeks of circumstantial and hearsay evidence.
He told them they should go in with the presumption that Peterson is innocent — and convict him only if they find him guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
“The defendant is not required to prove his innocence,” he told them.
The jurors withdrew to a jury room Wednesday morning after a judge read them instructions on how to assess the five weeks of testimony.
Peterson is charged with two counts of first-degree murder in Savio's death. If convicted, he faces a maximum 60-year prison sentence.
Peterson's attorneys said Tuesday their client has braced himself for jurors’ decision.
“He's emotionally and mentally prepared for whatever happens,” his lead attorney, Joel Brodsy, told reporters after closing arguments Tuesday.
His lawyers also said they have no inkling what jurors might be thinking or how they might be leaning.
“Of course, we're worried,” Joe Lopez, who delivered the closing for the defense, said about the final verdict. “Nobody knows what's going to happen.”