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Drew Peterson murder trial: Judge denies request for acquittal

Will County Sheriff's Office / AFP - Getty Images file

Former Bolingbrook, Illinois police Sgt. Drew Peterson, who is accused of murdering his third wife Kathleen Savio, and suspect in the disappearance of his fourth wife, Stacy Ann Cales.

The judge presiding over the first-degree murder trial of former police officer Drew Peterson denied a call for acquittal by defense attorneys on Monday, setting the case on course for deliberation before a jury, the Chicago Tribune reported.

Peterson, 58, is accused of killing his third wife, Kathleen Savio, 40, who was found dead in a dry bathtub in March 2004. The death was initially ruled accidental, but reopened after Peterson's fourth wife, Stacy Ann Cales, disappeared in 2007. Cales remains missing.

Prosecutors rested their case earlier Monday.

Defense attorneys then entered a motion for a directed verdict, asking Judge Edward Burmilla to drop charges against Peterson, The Associated Press reported.

Defense attorney Steven Greenberg argued that prosecutors had not proven Peterson is guilty. 

"That's why, with all due respect, this case has been so hodgepodge and scattered," Greenberg said, according to the Tribune. "They have no theory on how this happened. They're just hoping that the jury or your honor will so dislike Drew Peterson, will so dislike their marriage, will think that Drew is that such a a complete — I won't swear, but swear word omitted — that we should just — presume he did it.

"It's like they're trying to nail a clump of jello to a tree and have it stick there. There's nothing here, judge."

With Burmilla's denial of the request, Peterson's attorneys were expected to begin bringing in witnesses for the defense. They have not announced whether Peterson would testify. 

Peterson, a former police sergeant in Bolingbrook, Ill. southwest of Chicago, was indicted by a grand jury in May 2009 of murdering Savio. He is being held in the Will County Adult Detention Center in Joliet, Ill.

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