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Judge denies defense motion, Peterson trial date confirmed

By Pete Spitler
Staff Writer
Posted on 1/19/2016, 2:42 PM

The defense counsel in Drew Peterson"s murder-for-hire case has used its last timeout.

Back in court Tuesday for a case management hearing ahead of the scheduled Feb. 29 trial, Randolph County Circuit Court Judge Richard A. Brown denied a motion by the defense to continue the case once again.

"I don"t think we need a lot of time, but I don"t think it is realistic to say we will be ready to go to trial in a month," said defense attorney Lucas Liefer, who told Brown he and the State were still exchanging discovery.

Brown stated that a special jury selection session had been scheduled for February for the case and the court has a busy March session upcoming.

"If you have to move cases aside to get ready for this, then do so," Brown advised Liefer.

Randolph County State"s Attorney Jeremy Walker - who was flanked by assistant attorney generals Bill Elward and Steve Nate from the Illinois Attorney General"s office - reflected on the large number of witnesses in the case, now at a stated 46.

"The witnesses are lettered A through double-T," Walker said. "We"re almost through the alphabet two times."

Walker said he was concerned about the list of witnesses as the state had not received a summary list of their statements.

"The court is not going to allow a lot of repetitive testimony," Brown said to Liefer, later adding "We"re not going to hear from 10 people about the same issue."

Walker stated fingerprint results on some "evidentiary items" were received Tuesday, while DNA results have already been received.

"It took the FBI longer than anyone thought to tender these items," he said.

Walker later added that while he thought everybody in the courtroom wanted to get the case tried next month, "I don"t want to try this case blindfolded."

Walker noted he has not yet received a report from the defense"s expert witness, said to be in the field of audio recording, and needed time to analyze that report before the trial.

Brown asked if Liefer had received the report and the attorney said he did not have it yet.

"You"ve been working on this expert for months," Brown said.

"Yes, we have your honor," Liefer replied.

Walker asked Brown for one more case management hearing prior to trial to clear up any remaining issues and revisit a motion still under consideration. That hearing was set for Monday, Feb. 8 at 1 p.m.

"There"s some things we need to clarify and revisit some of those issues," Liefer said during media availability after the hearing.

Liefer was also asked his opinion of the judge"s decision to deny the continuance.

"We"ll be ready, I don"t have a choice," he said.

Walker said the prosecution did not have a problem if the defense needed more time.

"Now that we know the trial date will not be moved, we will certainly be ready," he said after the hearing.

Peterson, 62, is facing trial on charges of solicitation of murder and solicitation of murder for hire, both Class X felonies. The solicitation of murder for hire carries a penalty of between 20 and 40 years in prison, while solicitation of murder has a 15 to 30 year penalty.

The former Bolingbrook Police sergeant, who is an inmate at Menard Correctional Center in Chester, is alleged to have attempted to orchestrate the killing of Will County State"s Attorney James Glasgow while incarcerated.

Glasgow prosecuted Peterson"s 2012 murder conviction of third wife Kathleen Savio. Peterson remains a suspect in the disappearance of his fourth wife, Stacy Peterson.

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