Tuesday July 31, eight and a half years after his third wife was found dead in a bathtub, the murder trial of former Chicago-area police officer Drew Peterson is set to begin with opening statements. Peterson, 58, is accused in the 2004 death of his third wife, Kathleen Savio.
State's Attorney James Glasgow told reporters outside a courthouse on Tuesday, "We're ready to go... We're anxious to get to trial, put the evidence before the jury and arrive at a verdict."
Peterson's lawyer Joel Brodsky also told reporters that he plans to "tell the story of Drew Peterson from beginning to end ... and show the state's theory is implausible at best."
On May 7, 2009, Drew Peterson was arrested and charged with the murder of his third wife, Kathleen Savio.
Five years prior to the arrest, Savio's body was found in a waterless bathtub. Her death was initially ruled an accidental drowning by a coroner's jury.
Suspicion was raised as to whether the former police sergeant was responsible for Savio's drowning after his fourth wife, Stacy Peterson, disappeared on October 28, 2007.
Following Peterson's disappearance, Savio's body was exhumed and underwent forensic examination. After medical examiners conducted a thorough analysis, they concluded that she died of drowning following a struggle when her body was placed in the bathtub.
Peterson and Savio were married between 1992 and 2003 and had apparently been involved in a great amount of domestic disputes with each other. It was reported that between 2002 and 2004, police were called out to the Peterson house 18 times on domestic disturbance calls, including calls for returning children late after visitation.
Peterson was still married to Savio in 2001 when he met then 17-year-old Stacy Kales, who later became Stacy Peterson. The two began having an affair before Savio and Peterson filed for divorce.
In March 2002, a judge granted Savio a protection order from her ex-husband, prohibiting him from being near her, entering her home and taking out their children except for two brief weekly visits.
At one point months later, Savio had claimed that Peterson held a knife to her throat and threatened to kill her inside her home.
In October 2003, three months after giving birth to what was Peterson's fifth child, the then-19-year-old Stacy Kales and 49-year-old Peterson married.
Later, in 2003, the Will County prosecutor alleged that Peterson tried to pay someone $25,000 to kill his ex-wife Kathleen Savio. Her sister, Sue Doman, had even gone on the record years later to tell ABC News that Savio had called her saying she feared "he was going to kill her, and it was going to look like an accident."
on February 27, 2004, Drew Peterson picked up his two sons from Savio's home. He would spend the next two days with them. It's then that prosecutors believe he entered her home again early on February 29 and killed his ex-wife. She was found naked and dead in her dry tub the next day. Police initially treated the scene as an accident.
On March 20, Dr. Bryan Mitchell from the Will County coroner's office said in an autopsy report that the cause of Savio's death was drowning, her hair was soaked in blood from a cut on her scalp, and she had small bruises on her body.
As per terms of their divorce, Savio was set to receive part of Peterson's pension and other support.
In October 2007 Stacy Peterson contacted a local attorney and told him she wanted to discuss filing for divorce. Later that month, after discussing her plans with Peterson, she disappeared. Drew Peterson told authorities she abandoned her two children, ages 4 and 2, and ran off with another man.
The next month, state police labeled Drew Peterson a suspect in his fourth wife's disappearance, though neither he nor anyone else has been charged in that case. Stacy Peterson has never been found.
While he remains under investigation in the October 2007 disappearance Stacy Peterson, that case has been barred by the judge from having any involvement in the trial for the Savio death.