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Jury selection kicks off for trial of ex-cop Drew Peterson, accused of murdering third wife

Drew Peterson, seen in this May 2009 booking photo, is charged with murder in the drowning death of his former wife Kathleen Savio.
Drew Peterson, seen in this May 2009 booking photo, is charged with murder in the drowning death of his former wife Kathleen Savio.Will County Sheriff's Office / AP, file

Jury selection began Monday in the long-awaited trial of suburban Chicago ex-cop Drew Peterson, who is accused of murdering his third wife, Kathleen Savio.

Savio's body was found in a dry bathtub, her hair soaked in blood, in 2004.

Peterson, 58, is a former police sergeant at the Bolingbrook Police Department. He is also a suspect, but not charged, in the 2007 disappearance of his fourth wife, Stacy Peterson.

The start of Monday's vetting process to select 12 jurors signifies the end of a three-year wait for the 200-person jury pool in this case. Appellate court battles over hearsay statements slowed down the process, the AP reported.

The vetting process generally takes a few days, but jury questioning could be more involved, considering the high-profile nature of this case.

Officials originally deemed Savio's death as an accident. But when Stacy Peterson disappeared, authorities exhumed Savio's body, did a second autopsy and reclassified the death a homicide, The Chicago Sun-Times reported.

At the time of her March 1, 2004, death, Savio and Peterson were getting divorced, according to the Sun-Times. As part of the divorce battle, Savio was threatening to take a part of Peterson's pension, according to reports.

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Potential jurors are being questioned about their prior knowledge of the much-publicized case. The AP reported that one of the questions was whether they saw the 2011 TV movie, "Drew Peterson: Untouchable," according to Peterson's lead attorney, Joel Brodsky.

"I believe we’re going to get a jury out of this pool,” Brodsky said before going into court Monday morning, according to the Sun-Times.

Brodsky said the trial is expected to go on for a month, reported.

Peterson has two children with first wife, Carol Brown, according to WGN Radio in Chicago. There were unreported allegations of harassment and abuse in the Peterson's second marriage with wife Victoria Connolly.

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