Drew Peterson Shouts as He's Sentenced to 38 Years

'I did not kill Kathleen,' he yells in court

By Newser Editors and Wire Services

Posted Feb 21, 2013 3:59 PM CST

(Newser) – Drew Peterson—the swaggering former suburban Chicago police officer who gained notoriety after his much-younger fourth wife vanished in 2007—was sentenced to 38 years in prison today for murdering his third wife. The sentence came moments after Peterson shocked the courtroom as he proclaimed his innocence in the death of Kathleen Savio. "I did not kill Kathleen!" he shouted at the top of his lungs, emphasizing every word. Peterson seemed to look across the courtroom at Savio's family. Savio's sister Susan Doman shot back, "Yes, you did. You liar!" before the judge ordered sheriff's deputies to remove her from the courtroom.

Illinois does not have the death penalty, and the 59-year-old Peterson had faced a maximum 60-year prison term. Jurors convicted Peterson in September in Savio's 2004 death. Peterson is also a suspect in the disappearance of Stacy Peterson—who was 23 years old when she vanished—but he hasn't been charged in her case. It was her disappearance that led authorities to take another look at Savio's death and eventually reclassify it from an accident to a homicide.

In this courtroom sketch, Drew Peterson, left, watches the proceedings during his sentencing.
In this courtroom sketch, Drew Peterson, left, watches the proceedings during his sentencing.   (AP Photo/Tom Gianni)
Drew Peterson arrives at the Will County Courthouse in Joliet, Ill., in this 2009 file photo.
Drew Peterson arrives at the Will County Courthouse in Joliet, Ill., in this 2009 file photo.   (M. Spencer Green)
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