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Prosecution hammers Drew Peterson in closing arguments

The pastor of Drew Peterson wife Stacy testifies that Peterson coached her to lie about his whereabouts on the night of ex-wife Kathleen Savio's death. WMAQ's Kim Vatis reports.

Updated at 8:12 p.m. ET: Prosecutors on Tuesday asked the jury in the first-degree murder trial against Drew Peterson to focus on the witnesses who said the former police officers threatened his third wife -- and was therefore capable of killing her. Defense attorneys, meanwhile, stressed the lack of evidence. 

Prosecutor Chris Koch several times implored jurors to use their everyday experiences and keep their common sense in mind.

"It is clear that this man murdered Kathleen Savio," Koch told the jurors before reminding them of significant points they've heard throughout the last five weeks of testimony.

Peterson, a former Bolingbrook police sergeant, is charged in the 2004 drowning death of his third wife, Kathleen Savio. Prosecutors allege Peterson killed his wife and staged it to look like an accident.

The judge released the jurors Tuesday afternoon, the Chicago Tribune reported, saying he hadn't expected arguments to last so long. Deliberations will begin Wednesday morning.


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Koch told jurors that Peterson had the intent and motive to kill Savio.

"You are not going to make it to the divorce settlement. You're not going to get the pensions, you're not going to get the kids," he told jurors of a statement Peterson allegedly made.

Pathology experts, Koch said, showed that the injuries Savio sustained -- 14 separate wounds -- could not have happened in a single fall in a bathtub that measures just 40 inches from the back to the drain.

"It's not possible," he said.

Jurors were reminded that Savio told several people that she feared her husband would kill her, and they were reminded of testimony from a police officer who said Peterson tried to hire him to find a hit man.

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"Taking all of that information together and drawing reasonable inferences from them ... we have proved to you" that Peterson killed Savio. "We are asking you to find him guilty."

Attorney Joe Lopez, speaking on behalf of the defense, appealed to jurors patriotism.

"You don't have to like Mr. Peterson. But you have to like that flag. You have to like America," he said, pounding the podium.

He attacked assertions that the initial investigation into Savio's was botched and pointed out that no one asked Peterson if he killed his wife because everyone could see it was an accident.

"Look at the gash in the back of her head. It's as big as the Grand Canyon. You could stick your fist in there," he said, drawing gasps from those gathered in an overflow courtroom.

Jurors were expected to receive the case Tuesday afternoon. Members of the public, an official said, began showing up outside the courthouse at about 1 p.m. CT Monday in hopes of getting one of the few available spectator seats.

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Prosecutors have no physical evidence tying Peterson to the death and have waged a case based on hearsay testimony and circumstantial evidence. Peterson's attorneys say there's no proof Savio's death was a homicide, let alone that Peterson had anything to do with it.

"It's like the game of Clue, where they say, 'Colonel Mustard did it with the candlestick in the dining room.' Have you heard that? No," defense attorney Steve Greenberg said last week.

Prosecutors entered the courthouse Tuesday morning without addressing the media.

Each team has been given one hour and 45 minutes to state their case before the seven-man, five-woman jury that has already sat through five weeks of testimony.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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 @bjlutz on Twitter

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