On the one-year anniversary of the disappearance of Stacy Peterson, her husband, former police sergeant Drew Peterson, said he has no idea why three answers he gave during a polygraph examination related to the disappearance were judged to be deceptive.
“I have no idea,” Peterson told TODAY’s Matt Lauer Tuesday in New York. “I have no real knowledge of the operations of the polygraph.”
Questions and answers
Peterson had agreed to take the examination at the request of Derek Armstrong, the author of the recently published book “Drew Peterson Exposed.” His attorney, Joel Brodsky, who accompanied his client to New York, told Lauer he advised Peterson not to take the test because Brodsky doesn’t trust the so-called lie detector.
According to transcripts of the examination released by Armstrong, Peterson was deceptive when he said Stacy Peterson called to tell him she was leaving him; when he said he did not know where she was; and when he said he had seen her the night before she vanished.
Peterson’s replies to three other questions regarding Stacy were deemed not deceptive by the polygraph operator. Those were denials that he harmed his wife during the time she disappeared or that he was involved in physically removing her from their home, and an affirmation that she had called him to tell him where her car was parked after she left.
It had been reported that Brodsky crafted all the questions asked of his client, including four involving the 2003 death of his third wife, Kathleen Savio, who was found dead in her bathtub. Initially ruled a suicide, that death was ruled a homicide last year after the body was exhumed and another autopsy conducted.
Brodsky told Lauer he had nothing to do with writing the questions. He also said that Peterson was deemed to be not deceptive in his answers to questions about Savio’s death.
Peterson received no money for his cooperation with Armstrong, who told NBC News that when he examined all the evidence in the case, he began to believe Peterson may have killed the 23-year-old Stacy Peterson as well as his third wife, Kathleen Savio.
“I started to come to the conclusion in my own mind that he might be guilty,” Armstrong said.
Pushing for new law
While Peterson was in New York, Stacy Peterson’s family and friends were putting out flowers and candles and planning a prayer vigil in Bolingbrook, Ill., where Peterson still lives. Meanwhile, Peterson was in New York repeating his claim that she ran away with another man.
“I will be with the children later on this evening,” he told Lauer, who was the first national reporter Peterson spoke to after Stacy’s disappearance. “We figured that we had to talk with somebody. We’re pretty much consistent. We started with you and we’ll finish with you.”
Peterson said his two teenage sons by Savio understand their father’s situation, while the small children have become accustomed to life without their mother.
“The frequency of the questions are becoming less and less,” he said of the two young children. “It’s more or less becoming commonplace that she’s not there.”
Peterson has not been charged in connection with either Savio’s death or Stacy’s disappearance. But James Glasgow, the Will County, Ill., State’s Attorney, is pushing for a state law that would allow hearsay evidence to be heard in court if the evidence came from an absent witness, if the judge determined the defendant is responsible for the absence of the witness.
Such a law would allow relatives and friends of Savio and Stacy Peterson to testify about what the women told Peterson. A minister has told the media that Stacy told him her husband admitted to killing Savio. Relatives of Savio and Stacy Peterson have said they expressed fears that Peterson would kill them.
Brodsky praised Glasgow’s work as district attorney, but said that he is up for reelection next week and is pushing the law for political purposes.
Lauer asked Peterson if he understands why many believe he killed both Savio and Stacy.
“I understand very well,” he replied. “The media’s done everything they can to keep me in a position looking guilty.”
Lauer then asked if Peterson expects to be charged with murder and tried.
“I really don’t know. I would hope not,” Peterson answered. “All I can do is mentally prepare for it and prepare for the well-being of my children.”
Lauer also asked whether Peterson still believes Stacy Peterson ran away with another man, as he has maintained since her disappearance.
“I still believe that, yes. I have nothing to believe otherwise,” he said.
Finally, Lauer asked what Peterson would say to Stacy if she was alive and listening to the show.
“Show yourself,” he said. “Put an end to this nightmare.”
Peterson, 54, retired last year from the Bolingbrook, Ill., Police Department as a sergeant after 29 years of service. The retirement followed shortly after Stacy Peterson disappeared, and Peterson reportedly collects a $5,800 monthly pension.
He has been married four times. His first wife, Carol Brown, divorced him in 1980 after six years of marriage partly because he was unfaithful. His second marriage, to Vicki Connolly, ended after 10 years. Connolly later told reporters that he had physically abused her during the marriage.
His next wife was Kathleen Savio, with whom he had two sons, now in their mid-teens. The union began to disintegrate in 2002, when Savio said that her husband took up with the 17-year-old girl who would become his fourth wife, Stacy Cales. During a two-year period at the end of the marriage to Savio, police were called to the home 18 times because of domestic disturbances, and in 2002 Savio got an order of protection against her husband, charging him with threatening to kill her and physical abuse. No formal charges were ever brought against him.
He and Savio were in the process of finalizing their divorce in 2004 when she was found dead in a bathtub in her home. The tub was dry and there was clotted blood on the back of Savio’s head, but medical examiners ruled that she had fallen accidentally, with the tub draining itself after her death. She was 40 years old.
Peterson married Stacy in July 2003, shortly after his divorce from Savio. She was pregnant at the time and they would have two children, Anthony, 4, and Lacy, 2. All four children by both women are living with him.
Exhumation and autopsies
By 2007, Stacy Peterson was telling friends and family that she feared that her husband would kill her. Like Savio, she complained that he was distrustful of her and controlling. On Oct. 28, just days after she had asked him for a divorce, she was supposed to go to her sister’s house to help paint, but she never showed up. The following day, her sister reported her missing.
Peterson has maintained that Stacy ran off with another man. But on Nov. 9, Illinois State Police named him a suspect in her disappearance. The next day, the minister at her church said that she had told him that Peterson admitted to her that he had killed Savio.
On Nov. 16, investigators exhumed Savio’s body and two autopsies were conducted, one by local authorities. The other was performed at the request of the family by New York medical examiner Dr. Michael Baden. Both autopsies concluded that Savio’s death was a homicide. State authorities have reopened their investigation into her death, but no suspects have been named.
A relative subsequently said he helped Peterson remove a large, blue plastic drum from Peterson’s house around the time Stacy went missing.
In May, Peterson was arrested for possession of an assault rifle with a barrel shorter than allowed by state law. He was also charged with illegally transferring a gun to his son. A trial on those charges is scheduled for Dec. 8.