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At Peterson trial, friend testifies she saw bruises on Savio

By Steve Schmadeke, Andy Grimm and Matt Walberg, Chicago Tribune –

CHICAGO — One of Kathleen Savio’s friends clutched her neck with her right hand as she demonstrated to jurors Thursday where she saw bruises on Savio’s neck five months before she drowned.

Mary Parks testified that Savio told her during a conversation at Joliet Junior College that Drew Peterson had attacked her.

“She told me that, the evening before, she was coming down the stairs and her husband came into the house and he grabbed her by the neck and pinned her down. She said her husband at that point said to her, ‘Why don’t you just die?’ ”

Peterson is accused of drowning Savio in 2004. Attorneys spent much of Thursday questioning Parks, who bristled at defense lawyers and at one point was admonished by the judge to stick to answering questions.

In cross-examination, Parks admitted she misspoke when she said she was taking a pharmacology class with Kathleen Savio in fall 2003 when Savio told her about the threats and showed her the marks on her neck.

She said she actually took the class the year prior, but stood by her testimony that Savio’s remarks came just months before her death.

After several contentious back-and-forth questions with defense attorney Steve Greenberg, Parks was admonished by the judge that she was not to ask questions, only answer them.

Much of the cross-examination centered on differences between her testimony and her statements to a state police investigator in 2008, which do not record her making any mention of Peterson’s alleged threats.

“I am not responsible for what she wrote in her report,” Parks said. “I was not given an opportunity to review it for accuracy.”

Thursday was also marked by a visit from Peterson’s son Kris Peterson as well as some light-hearted moments and humor in the courtroom.

Kris Peterson visited the courtroom during an afternoon break and sat in the gallery behind his father. Drew Peterson turned in his chair and for several minutes spoke to his son, who was dressed in a black polo shirt and khaki pants.

Kris Peterson, who turned 18 on Wednesday, then left the courtroom, escorted by two Will County deputy sheriffs. He is a potential witness in the case and so could not stay to watch the proceedings. Savio is his mother.

Moments of comedy included defense attorney Joel Brodsky objecting to a question by a fellow defense attorney, the judge joking with defense attorney Joe Lopez about wearing his sunglasses in court, and an inmate telling the judge in a letter that he had information linking the Peterson case with the Abraham Lincoln assassination and the George Zimmerman case in Florida.

Brodsky raised an objection after Parks was asked whether she had ever previously told anyone that she contacted the state police for the first time in 2007.

Unfortunately, the question was asked by his co-counsel, Steve Greenberg, which caused a bit of confusion for a moment.

“I don’t think they can object to their own question,” Glasgow interjected, drawing laughter from court watchers.

“That’s a first,” Greenberg said.

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