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Colleague: Drew Peterson Said Life Better if 3rd Wife Dead

Drew Peterson on trial for 2004 death of third wife Kathleen Savio

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Bolingbrook police officer James Coughlin testified Tuesday as prosecutors sought to prove Drew Peterson murdered Kathleen Savio in 2004. Christian Farr reports. (Published Tuesday, Aug 7, 2012)

    A former colleague of Drew Peterson's has testified that Peterson once told him his life would be easier if his third wife was dead.

    Bolingbrook police officer James Coughlin testified Tuesday as prosecutors sought to prove Peterson murdered Kathleen Savio in 2004.

    Coughlin told jurors he ran into Peterson at the Will County courthouse weeks before Savio was found dead in her bathtub.

    He says Peterson made an apparent reference to his estranged wife eventually getting all his money. Coughlin told jurors Peterson then added that his "life would be easier" if Savio was dead.

    Under cross-examination, Coughlin said he didn't think Peterson was serious at the time.

    No Sign of Struggle

    Crime-scene investigator Robert Deel said he saw no signs of a struggle at the home where Peterson's third wife was found dead in a bathtub.

    Deel testified under cross-examination that he's been at other murder scenes where doors are broken, holes are punched into walls and there's blood splattered everywhere.

    He added dramatically that, in his words, "When someone is fighting for their lives, it's an intense thing."

    But he says there were no such signs at Savio's home.

    Prosecutors are trying to convince jurors that there's no physical evidence in the case because the investigation was botched by police.

    Peterson was charged in the 2004 murder of Kathleen Savio, found in a bathtub in her Bolingbrook home. Savio's death originally was ruled an accidental drowning but years later was reclassified as a homicide.

    Judge Edward Burmila called a recess last week after a juror became sick and broke out into a coughing fit during court.

    Keep up on the trial with our Peterson Trial Live Blog or follow gmarshall_jr on Twitter.

    Before the recess, Savio's older sister, Anna Doman, testified a "scared and upset" Savio came to see her six weeks before the death and said Peterson had threatened her.

    "Drew had told her he was going to kill her," Doman testified, "that she wasn't going to make it to the settlement."

    "She made me promise over and over again to take care of her boys," Doman said.

    It also was decided Harry Smith, Savio's divorce attorney, would not testify for the day.

    The idea of Smith's testimony had been contentious in pre-trial motions. Peterson's attorneys had argued Smith violated attorney-client privilege when he testified at a hearing about conversations he had with Savio and Stacy Peterson, Peterson's fourth wife who disappeared.

    Peterson's trial hasn't been without complications. Multiple objections flew on the first day, and in the first week, defense called for a mistrial over tainted testimony. Burmila decided to deny the motion and told jurors to ignore the contentious portion of testimony.

    NBC Chicago has reporters in the Will County Courthouse for the trial. During proceedings, follow along with our Drew Peterson Trial Live Blog or follow gmarshall_jr on Twitter.