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Prosecution approaches end of its case in Peterson trial

By Steve Schmadeke, Matthew Walberg and Stacy St. Clair, Chicago Tribune –

CHICAGO—Prosecutors in the Drew Peterson murder trial expect to wrap up their case Monday after 17 days of testimony from more than 30 witnesses.

On Friday, prosecutors attempted to tie up some last loose ends in their case, calling a Sprint Nextel representative to provide context for phone communications between Peterson and his fourth wife, Stacy, in 2004.

Stacy Peterson’s pastor, Neil Schori, testified a day earlier that she told him she tried to call Drew Peterson when she woke one night and found him gone.

Drew Peterson later came home dressed in black, dumped a bag of women’s clothing in the wash and coached her to lie to cover his slaying of his ex-wife Kathleen Savio, Schori testified that Stacy Peterson told him.

There are no cell phone records of calls between Stacy and Drew Peterson at the time, but prosecutors believe the two communicated via a direct-connect radio “chirp” feature on their phones.

The former Bolingbrook police sergeant and his new wife communicated using the chirp feature for about 270 minutes the month Savio died, testified Norman Clark, a Sprint Nextel custodian of records.

Also on Friday, Bolingbrook police Lt. Brian Hafner told jurors that Drew Peterson was appointed a crime scene investigator in 1981 and received eight hours of evidence training. Prosecutors believe that Peterson staged the scene of Savio’s death to make it look like an accident.

The lieutenant was not allowed to testify about training Peterson received on police holds. Prosecutors believe that Peterson drowned Savio in her Bolingbrook bathtub after using a chokehold to render her unconscious.

Hafner previously testified that Peterson had received 32 hours of nunchucks training when officers carried the martial arts weapon in the 1980s.

Outside the courtroom, Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow declined to characterize how the case has gone but told reporters that “it’s good to come to the end of our case.”

“We look forward to proceeding next week,” he said.

Defense attorneys continued to say that prosecutors don’t have a case against Peterson. No physical evidence links him to Savio’s death, which was first treated as an accident.

“The framers of the Constitution would barf on this evidence,” defense attorney Joseph Lopez yelled while appearing on TV outside the courthouse.

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