Feb 2, 2009
Joliet, IL. - The appellate court has shot down Drew Peterson's bid to keep his uncle in control of his slain third wife's finances.
Peterson's legal team appealed a Will County judge's decision to remove Peterson's uncle, James Carroll, as the executor of his third wife's will and to reopen her estate.
Attorneys for both sides argued the matter before the state's third district appellate court last month. In an opinion handed down last week, the court affirmed the original decision, clearing the path for the family of Peterson's slain third wife, Kathleen Savio, to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
"Absolutely, it's alive and well," said Joliet attorney Lawrence Varsek, one of the lawyers representing the Savio family. "It's going to go forward. The only question is when."
Varsek said he and his colleagues, Martin Glink and John Kelly, are still discussing when to file the wrongful death suit.
Peterson and Savio were in the midst of a contentious divorce when she turned up drowned in a dry bathtub in March 2004.
In fact, Savio and Peterson were halfway through a highly unusual divorce proceeding in which the marriage was severed but the financial affairs had yet to be settled.
Within weeks of Savio's death, Peterson happened to find a will naming his uncle as the executor. The uncle went on to award Peterson control of virtually all of Savio's assets.
The appellate justices questioned this in their written opinion, saying, "Even from an objective standpoint, we can think of no just or fair reason why Carroll, as executor of the estate, would relinquish all of Savio's interest in the marital property to Peterson individually."
State police investigated Savio's death but failed to find any indication of foul play. They got another crack at checking it out after Peterson's fourth wife, Stacy Peterson, vanished in October 2007.
Savio's death was subsequently ruled a homicide. State police consider Stacy Peterson to be the victim of a "potential homicide" and have named her husband their sole suspect.
Joel Brodsky, one of Peterson's attorneys, said the appellate court was "wrong" and that he will file a motion to reconsider. He also can appeal to the state's supreme court. Varsek doubted this would happen, saying, "The chances of the state supreme court taking it are very remote."