Drew Peterson lawyer: Authorities should return items seized in probe of wife's disappearance
JOLIET, Ill. -- Guns, two vehicles and other items seized from Drew Peterson's home after his wife disappeared should be returned, an attorney for the former police officer said Wednesday, arguing authorities are trying to "vex" his client.
John Carroll, who spoke at a hearing in Will County Court, also belittled the warrant that allowed for the seizures after Peterson's wife vanished more than a month ago. He said it's only reasonable if Illinois State Police believe Drew Peterson used all 11 guns to kill his wife and both vehicles to transport her body.
"That's ludicrous," said Carroll, one of the former Bolingbrook police officer's attorneys.
"There's not even an indictment," Carroll said, adding there is "just innuendo."
Authorities have called a suspect in his wife's disappearance but he has not been charged.
Stacy Peterson was last seen Oct. 28 and reported missing by her family the next day. Drew Peterson, a longtime member of the Bolingbrook Police Department until he quit after his wife's disappearance, has said he believes his wife left him for another man and is alive.
Prosecutor John Connor defended the warrant and authorities' decision to keep the seized items, saying defense attorneys are "attempting to put a clock on the state (police) in their investigation." He said it's far too soon to talk about returning all the items.
In a filing Tuesday, prosecutors did agree to return two iPods and 23 music CDs taken from Peterson's home but objected to defense attorneys' request to return the guns, vehicles, the children's computers and a backpack "apparently containing some items" belonging to Stacy Peterson.
Judge Daniel Rozek asked attorneys to submit briefs and said he would return to court with a decision Monday.
Drew Peterson, who was not at the hearing, said later that he's most bothered by the seizure of the computers belonging to his two teenage children. He also has two children younger than school-age.
"My kids basically need their computers for school," Peterson told an Associated Press reporter at his home. "The kids have been without their computers since this thing started."
"If anyone wants to donate one, I'll take it," he added, chuckling. On Tuesday, another Peterson attorney launched a Web site seeking public donations to help pay for his defense.
On Wednesday, attorney Joel Brodsky said the site was being shut down because the defense fund "has met its short term goal." Brodsky wouldn't say how much money was raised, citing attorney-client privilege.
Carroll argued at the hearing that even if Rozek agrees the warrant is valid, there's no reason to keep the items for more than a month.
"The point is, how long can they hang on to these things?" Carroll said. "We're saying they've had enough time."
Authorities are "attempting to vex Mr. Peterson," Carroll said, noting it is difficult for Peterson to be without his vehicles during the holidays.
Connor said authorities still need the items to conduct their investigation and do further testing.
Earlier Wednesday, the Chicago Tribune reported that Stacy Peterson's sister told authorities that Drew Peterson had fired a gunshot that narrowly missed his wife last summer.
Cassandra Cales said her sister told her that Drew Peterson was in his master bedroom when the gun went off as Stacy was getting a soda from the garage.
"She heard a 'pow.' It scared her. She looked around the garage -- she didn't know what it was," Cales said. "Drew went down there. He picked up all the pieces and he never made a report (to police). He patched the ceiling. Stacy showed me the hole. She peeled the carpet back and showed me where the hole was."
After Wednesday's hearing, Brodsky said he'd heard rumors about a gunshot incident but had not been able to confirm it.
Bolingbrook police Lt. Ken Teppel said Wednesday that Cales, who reported her sister missing Oct. 29, met with Police Chief Ray McGury later that day and Cales told McGury about the alleged incident. McGury encouraged Cales to report it to state police, Teppel said.
State Police spokesman Trooper Mark Dorencz declined Wednesday to discuss details of the investigation. He said authorities from several agencies were continuing their underwater search of a canal in west suburban Chicago. Authorities have not said why they are searching the canal.
The investigation into Stacy Peterson's disappearance also prompted the exhumation of the body of Drew Peterson's third wife, Kathleen Savio. Will County State's Attorney James Glasgow has said after examining evidence he believes Savio's death was a homicide staged to look like an accident. Results of the new autopsy have not been released. Peterson has not been named a suspect in her death.
(Copyright (c) 2007 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)