Drew Peterson was an Illinois cop who was married four times by the time his fourth wife disappeared. Now, he is on trial for the murder of his third wife, whose death was ruled an accidental drowning back in 2004, but now appears highly suspicious.
His defense attorneys started the trial with a bang Tuesday by showing that their plan is to paint alleged victim Kathleen Savio in the worst light possible.
Peterson is no favorite of most women. His fourth wife Stacy Peterson was just 23 (30 years younger than him) when she disappeared, never to be seen again. Though Peterson is a suspect in that, he has never been formally charged. Still, his third wife's bathtub death in 2004 started to get more attention, her body was exhumed, and now he is standing trial. As of Tuesday, it was clear that the defense's strategy is to make her look "bonkers."
It's pretty reprehensible.
There is no doubt that divorce can be terribly contentious. But this one was particularly so. Savio had told many people she feared him. Peterson's lawyers had to go this route, saying:
She’s a very, very angry woman. She makes up all sorts of stories about Drew.
Ugh. It's hard to hear such things and there is a fine line. Savio isn't on trial here. But her mental state might be. In order to debunk evidence that seems obvious (like her telling people he would kill her and make it look like an accident), the lawyers have to play dirty with her name.
Sadly, this isn't a new strategy. This is why many rapes go unreported as victims end up feeling like they are the ones on trial. It's an ugly truth about our justice system that doesn't feel very fair at all. Unfortunately, it isn't only fair, but also necessary.
Even the most despicable low life has the right to a fair trial. It's part of what makes our country great. Unfortunately, a good defense often has to cast a doubt by making the victim look bad. It's awful and sickening to watch, but it's also a decent defense strategy. Unfortunately, it's part of the legal system.
The Drew Peterson case still has many, many days left, though. It may get even uglier.
Do you think it's OK to say bad things about the alleged victim?
Image via uberzombie/Flickr