Witness: Peterson indicated he’d kill wife
JOLIET, Ill. (AP) – The stepbrother of a former Illinois police officer accused of killing his third wife told a hushed courtroom Thursday that he believed he might have helped his relative dispose of the body of his fourth wife, who has not been seen for more than two years.
Thomas Morphey testified at a hearing to decide whether prosecutors can use “hearsay” evidence to try and prove allegations that Drew Peterson killed his third wife, Kathleen Savio, in 2004. Peterson hasn’t been charged in the 2007 disappearance of his fourth wife, Stacy, but authorities say he is the only suspect.
While the Will County hearing is about the death of Savio, Thursday’s testimony focused on the day Stacy Peterson disappeared. Prosecutors would not say why Morphey was being asked to testify about Stacy Peterson, but Will County state’s attorney’s office spokesman Chuck Pelkie said the reasons would become clear in the proceedings.
In a packed but quiet courtroom, Morphey said Peterson suggested when they talked on Oct. 27, 2007, that he intended to kill Stacy because she planned to divorce him, win custody of their children and take Peterson’s money.
Morphey said he drank heavily the next day.
“I just heard someone was going to murder somebody else,” Morphey explained.
Peterson brought Morphey back to his Bolingbrook home, went into a master bedroom and rolled out a large blue barrel that Morphey estimated weighed up to 150 pounds.
Morphey stopped short of saying that Peterson directly admitted murdering Stacy and he said the two men never talked about what was in the barrel. Savio’s body was found in an empty bathtub in her home in 2004. Her death had initially been ruled an accidental drowning – until Stacy Peterson’s disappearance led officials to exhume Savio’s body, conduct another autopsy and conclude Savio was the victim of a homicide.