CHICAGO — Drew Peterson, the former suburban Chicago police officer convicted of killing his third wife and suspected in the disappearance of his fourth, has been charged with trying to hire someone to kill the prosecutor who helped put him in state prison, authorities announced Monday.
Peterson appeared in court on charges that between September 2013 and December 2014, while behind bars, he solicited a person to find someone he could pay to kill Will County State's Attorney James Glasgow. Peterson did not enter a plea.
Peterson, 61, has been in prison since he was convicted in 2012 of first-degree murder in the 2004 bathtub drowning of his third wife, Kathleen Savio. Savio's death initially was ruled an accident, but after Peterson's fourth wife, Stacy Peterson, disappeared in 2007, Savio's body was exhumed and her death was ruled a homicide.
Glasgow's office charged Drew Peterson with murder and in 2012 the former Bolingbrook police sergeant was convicted and sentenced to 38 years in state prison.
The latest complaint was filed by both the Illinois attorney general's office and the prosecutor in Randolph County — the location of Menard Correctional Center, where Peterson is serving his sentence. In the two-page complaint, Peterson is charged with solicitation of murder for hire and one count of solicitation of murder, both felonies carrying a maximum sentence of at least 30 years in prison.
Peterson attorney Steven Greenberg said the charges "seem a bit absurd" because Peterson would have nothing to gain by trying to have Glasgow killed.
"This is completely out of character and inconsistent with everything I know about (Peterson)," Greenberg said. "I'll wait to see what evidence they have."
Monday's announcement is the latest chapter in a case that became a media sensation almost from the day Peterson's 23-year-old fourth wife, Stacy, disappeared in 2007. As a massive effort to find her grew to include divers and cadaver dogs searching ponds and thick wooded areas near Peterson's Bolingbrook home, news trucks lined his street.
The search ultimately was unsuccessful, with Peterson accused but never charged with the slaying of his young wife.
But after Savio's body was exhumed and authorities ruled her drowning a homicide, Peterson was interviewed countless times by news crews and, as the investigation continued, he joked about a "Win a Date with Drew" contest and discussed appearing on a reality TV show about a Nevada brothel.
Throughout it all, Peterson maintained his innocence and his attorneys contended Stacy Peterson had run off with another man and was alive.
Drew Peterson did not testify at his trial, but addressed the court after he was convicted, blaming prosecutors for "the largest railroad job ever" and sarcastically telling Glasgow that the prosecutor could celebrate because he had destroyed Peterson's life.
He challenged the prosecutor to look him in the eyes then told him to "never forget what you've done here."
Glasgow issued a brief statement after the new charges against Peterson were announced Monday, saying that while it was "unfortunate that prosecutors sometimes must deal with allegations of this nature," he would not let a threat to his personal safety affect the way he does his job.