Drew Peterson Finally on Trial in Wife's Death

3-year wait ends as 'very unusual' case begins today
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 23, 2012 5:51 AM CDT
Drew Peterson Finally on Trial in Wife's Death
In this May 8, 2009 file photo, former Bolingbrook, Ill., police sergeant Drew Peterson yells to reporters.   (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green, File)

A pool of 200 potential jurors has waited three years for the Drew Peterson murder trial to begin; today, jury selection will finally begin in what's set to be a rather unorthodox case. Those selected to hear the case will listen to what is, in effect, posthumous testimony based on hearsay: Those who were close to Peterson's third and fourth wives—one who died in 2004, the other missing since 2007—will tell jurors about alleged threats Peterson made to the two women, the AP reports.

The case was delayed amid appellate court debate over whether such testimony was acceptable (it's usually barred). "I've never heard of anything comparable to this—a jury pool waiting around for so long knowing what case they're going to be in and the reliance on hearsay," says a lawyer not involved in the case. "It's all very unusual." For potential jurors, avoiding news on the trial has been a challenge: The death of Kathleen Savio and disappearance of Stacy Peterson haven't just generated press; the case was the subject of a TV movie starring Rob Lowe. (More Drew Peterson stories.)

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