Judge Allows Savio Autopsy in Drew Peterson Trial - New York News

Judge Allows Savio Autopsy in Drew Peterson Trial



Drew Peterson's defense team was dealt a setback in court Friday when a judge denied their request to prevent a key prosecution witness from testifying.


Renowned pathologist Dr. Michael Baden was the first person to publicly declare that Peterson's third wife Kathleen Savio did not die accidentally but was in fact murdered. He conducted a private autopsy for the family after her body was exhumed in November 2007.

Defense attorneys questioned the credibility of Baden's findings because he allowed a Fox News Channel producer to take notes for him and video tape him in the autopsy room.

Savio's death was originally ruled an accident after she was found dead in a dry bathtub in 2004. Authorities reopened the case after Peterson's fourth wife Stacy disappeared.

"Dr. Baden goes there and he decides ahead of time what he thinks happens in this case and then he goes there and confirms his own findings. Now he's not gonna look very good if he goes on TV and says I was wrong before and this was an accident, so it's a self fulfilling prophecy," said Steven Greenberg, one of Peterson's lawyers.

Stephen Watts, the producer who formerly worked for On the Record with Greta Van Susteren testified that he never video taped Savio's remains and never touched them. Watts also made it clear that he only videotaped Baden during a break in the autopsy, and that Baden agreed to reveal his findings on Van Susteren's show, regardless of what they showed.

"As much as the defense would like to make something of it, because they allegedly have no case, my being in that room had absolutely no influence on the outcome, and as I've said before if the defense is hinging it's case on the fact that I was in the autopsy room, they better suit up Drew Peterson for those orange jumpsuits he seems to fancy so much," Watts said after the hearing was over.

Baden's conclusion that Savio's death was murder was corroborated by another pathologist who performed the official autopsy for prosecutors a day before Baden.

Peterson's attorney Joel Brodsky said he will have three or four of his own experts testify that the original autopsy was correct in classifying Savio's death as an accident.

Peterson was arrested for Savio's murder in 2009. His trial begins July 8th.

He has denied any involvement in her death or in the disappearance of his fourth wife Stacy Peterson.


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