Former police sergeant Drew Peterson arrives at the Will County Courthouse in Joliet, Ill., in 2009.
(Photo: M. Spencer Green, AP)
(USA Today)-- Former Illinois police officer Drew Peterson was sentenced Thursday to 38 years in prison for murdering one of his ex-wives.
Peterson, 59, was convicted in September of murdering 40-year-old Kathleen Savio, his third wife, in March 2004. He faced a possible 60 years maximum.
During the sentencing hearing, Peterson stunned the court by shouting, "I did not kill Kathleen!"
"Yes, you did!" said one of Savio's relatives, who was then ejected from the courtroom by Will County Judge Edward Burmila.
The judge then told him, "Don't make any outbursts that are designed to aggravate people."
Peterson replied, "I'm sorry, your honor. I must have been woozy."
He then complained about false police reports, "rumors, gossip, outrageous lies and, most importantly, unreliable hearsay."
"The state took an accident and staged a homicide," Peterson said.
Earlier in the day, Burmila rejected arguments from Peterson's lawyers that his former attorney had bungled the defense.
Anna Marie Savio-Doman told the judge that "my loss of my baby sister is beyond words. There will be no more birthday parties, backyard gatherings, holiday celebrations or other family activities to share. The laughter, hugs, guidance, advice, sense of security and those opportunities to say, 'I love you' are forever gone."
"He showed no remorse," she said, the Chicago Tribune reported. "For years, I watched Peterson parade on TV, radio, photo shoots, and (that) radio promotion to win a date with him. That was a big joke to him. And he loved all the attention.
"Your honor, the defendant shows no remorse to this day for the horrible crime that he did to my sister Kathleen. This senseless action is inexcusable. I am placing my trust that you will give Kathleen justice once and for all."
Peterson, a former officer in the Chicago suburb of Bolingbrook, left Kathleen Savio to marry his fourth wife, Stacy Peterson, who disappeared in 2007. He is a suspect but has not been charged.