A Short History of Drew Peterson

From Police Officer of the Year to convicted killer.

By Eric Shorey

Oxygen's two-hour event on the infamous Drew Peterson case airs on Friday, August 25th at 9/8c.

The horrific story of Drew Peterson, an ex-cop implicated in the deaths of 2 of his 4 ex-wives, fascinated Americans in the early-mid 2000's as details about his crimes emerged in the news.

Peterson grew up in Villa Park, Illinois. After high school, he joined the US Army, eventually leading to a career in the police force. He specifically worked in the Metropolitan Area Narcotics Squad, where he received a "Police Officer of the Year" award from the department in 1979.

Peterson had married his high school sweetheart, Carol Brown, who divorced him after learning of his infidelity. With Brown, Peterson had fathered two sons. He then moved on to Victoria "Vicki" (Rutkiewicz) Connolly, who he operated a bar with. They married in 1982. 

Connolly would later admit that she was extensively abused in her relationship with Peterson. Drew threatened to kill her and make it look like an accident (foreshadowing events that would later occur). The two eventually divorced after Peterson's infidelity was once again discovered. Only months later would Peterson go on to wed his third wife, accountant Kathleen Savio.

Peterson continued to abuse his partner, with police recording 18 calls about domestic disturbances pertaining to his household. Nonetheless, he fathered two more children with Servio before her body was found in a waterless bathtub in 2003. Her death was ruled as accidental by a court who was reassured by police that Peterson was a good man.

Peterson then went on to marry his fourth wife, 19-year-old hotel receptionist, Stacy Ann Peterson (nee Cales), with who he fathered two more kids. In 2007, Mrs. Peterson disappeared completely — she has not been found to this day.

Suspicions aroused by her sudden disappearance led to the exhuming of Savio's body for further investigation. A medical examiner determined that Savio had died of drowning following forced strangulation and concluded that these details had been overlooked during the first autopsy. A State Attorney said that Savio's death was likely a homicide made to look accidental, leading to a widely publicized trial in which Peterson was convicted of killing Savio.

In 2015, Peterson was charged with additional felonies, solicitation of murder and solicitation of murder for hire, after it was discovered that he had attempted to have Will County State's Attorney James Glasgow killed. 40 years were added to his 38 year sentence.

Peterson is currently being held at the notorious Terra Haute prison complex. In 2017, after an incident in which he was attacked with a food tray by another inmate, he was separated from the general population.

[Photo: Getty Images]

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