Drew Peterson conviction comes at crucial time in Glasgow re-election bid
BY JON SEIDEL Sun-Times Media firstname.lastname@example.org September 6, 2012 8:32PM
Will County State's Attorney James Glasgow (center) addresses the media after a guilty verdict was returned during the Drew Peterson murder trial at the Will County Courthouse Thursday, Sept. 6, 2012, in Joliet. | Matthew Grotto~Sun-Times Media
Updated: October 9, 2012 2:55PM
As James Glasgow approached the TV cameras outside the courthouse, the familiar election-year chant could be heard amid the cheers celebrating Drew Peterson’s conviction.
“Four more years!”
Though the Will County state’s attorney and his staff have been careful to avoid the topic, Peterson’s murder trial came at a perilous political time for Glasgow. In about two months he’ll ask the people of Will County for a fifth term as top prosecutor.
His odds in the Nov. 6 election seemed at times to ride entirely on Peterson’s prosecution this summer. And Thursday, a jury found Peterson guilty of the 2004 murder of his third wife, Kathleen Savio.
Another high-profile trial prosecuted by Glasgow’s office is continuing at the courthouse, though. Christopher Vaughn of Oswego is on trial for the June 2007 shooting deaths of his wife and three young children.
Glasgow, a Democrat, prosecuted Peterson personally and delivered the final words to the jury during closing arguments. His Republican challenger, Dave Carlson, questioned Glasgow’s presence in the courtroom before the trial began. He said it’s been too long since Glasgow prosecuted a case.
“We’re all licensed to drive a car,” Carlson said. “If you haven’t driven a car in 15 years you’re not ready to go to the Indy 500.”
But a spokesman for Glasgow’s office said at the time Glasgow felt compelled to prosecute the case because he’s been involved from the beginning. Thursday, Glasgow said he’s spent his career making decisions without considering the political implications.
“My entire career has been against all odds,” Glasgow said. “I was never supposed to be elected state’s attorney. There hadn’t been a Democratic state’s attorney in 36 years here.”
Glasgow was originally elected in 1992 — ousting Edward Burmila from the office. Burmila would go on to become an associate judge in 2003 and preside over Peterson’s trial this summer.
Carlson, meanwhile, said Thursday he doesn’t want to see Peterson’s trial politicized, either. He said one case shouldn’t override Glasgow’s 16 years as state’s attorney — the Democrat was voted out of office in 2000 only to return to the office in 2004. And Carlson said he’s happy for the Savios.
“We should respect the family,” Carlson said.