Drew Peterson’s lawyers have filed a motion to dismiss a wrongful death lawsuit against the former Bolingbrook police officer, who was found guilty of murdering his third wife. The action came just days after Peterson’s conviction.
Peterson was convicted of the 2004 drowning of Kathleen Savio. Peterson and Savio’s two sons requested that their names be removed from a wrongful death lawsuit filed by Savio’s estate on their behalf. One son, Kris Peterson, went to the Will County Courthouse the day after he turned 18, to remove himself from the civil case. He spoke with his father during a recess in the criminal proceedings, but did not stay for testimony in the case.
Thomas Peterson, Kris’ older brother, removed his name from the case last year, when he turned 18. Peterson’s attorneys now say that under Illinois law, only a victim’s spouse or children can pursue a lawsuit for wrongful death, and therefore the case must be dismissed. While the criminal case was pending, the civil lawsuit was on hold.
A lawyer for Savio’s estate said that the wrongful death suit can still be pursued, and that Kris and Thomas may have been manipulated into removing themselves from the lawsuit. Both brothers lived with Stephen Peterson, their older half brother, after Peterson’s 2009 arrest.
Attorneys for Savio’s estate have a December deadline to file a response to the motion to dismiss. The next hearing is scheduled for February, and the lawsuit may be delayed further by the appeals that are expected in Peterson’s criminal case.