Drew Peterson’s trial won’t be made-for-TV
BY JON SEIDEL Sun-Times Mediaemail@example.com May 8, 2012 5:16PM
Former Bolingbrook Police Sgt. Drew Peterson arrives at the Will County courthouse in May 2009 for his arraignment on murder charges in the death of his third wife, Kathleen Savio. | SUN-TIMES MEDIA
Updated: June 11, 2012 9:15AM
Producers didn’t bother waiting until after Drew Peterson’s much-anticipated trial to turn the tale of his dead and missing wives into a made-for-TV movie.
But as Illinois continues its experiment with cameras in its criminal courtrooms, crime buffs shouldn’t expect to watch the real thing from the comfort of their own living rooms. Will County’s top judge said cameras likely won’t be allowed into the former Bolingbrook police officer’s trial.
Chief Judge Gerald Kinney has said he’s exploring the idea of letting cameras into Will County courtrooms. But he also said it’d be logistically difficult to clear the way for the cameras in time for a Peterson murder trial that attorneys said could begin as soon as this summer.
He also said he thinks Illinois’ Supreme Court is aiming for smaller media markets as it lets cameras in.
“I think they want to see this program begin slowly,” Kinney said.
Will County Judge Edward Burmila would also have a say in whether to let photographers into his courtroom, Kinney said. Burmila inherited the Peterson case Friday when it finally emerged from a long appeals process. The previous judge retired from the bench while the appeals were pending.
Peterson is expected back in Burmila’s courtroom May 17, when lawyers could begin to sketch out a trial schedule. Peterson, 58, is charged with the drowning death of his third wife, 40-year-old Kathleen Savio, who was found dead in a dry bathtub in 2004.
His fourth wife, Stacy Peterson, vanished in 2007. Peterson is a suspect in her disappearance.
Both cases became the subject of a Lifetime original movie when the cable channel aired “Drew Peterson: Untouchable” in January with actor Rob Lowe as Peterson.
About the same time, the Illinois Supreme Court announced it would begin a pilot project allowing cameras in trial courts on an experimental basis. So far the court has announced it will allow cameras in 13 Illinois counties, including Kankakee.