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Nancy Grace

Letters From Deceased Third Wife Reveal Abuse by Sgt. Peterson

Aired November 07, 2007 - 20:00   ET


PAT LALAMA, GUEST HOST: Breaking news tonight. Why are police back at the home of a young mom of two, the fourth wife of a veteran police sergeant vanishing into thin air in the Chicago suburbs? Family and friends say no way would 23-year-old Stacy Peterson leave her children behind. Less than a week after seizing personal computers, cell phones and two family cars, police swarm the home of Peterson for a second time. Is there new evidence?
And new documents emerge of an abusive and violent marriage between that same police sergeant and wife number three, her mysterious death under investigation. All the while, search and rescue teams focus on more than a dozen areas in the search for Stacy Peterson.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stacy Peterson has been missing for 10 days now.

Last night the Illinois State Police came to Drew and Stacy Peterson`s home. They looked largely in the garage.

This is the second time that they have executed a search warrant. They were here last Thursday. They were looking at things like cell phones and computers and looking at a couple of vehicles. The husband, a police sergeant -- he actually is telling the media that he doesn`t even think that she`s missing, that she ran away with another man. But her family really disputes that, and their description of the relationship is that she was afraid of what they describe as a very controlling husband.

This is not even being called a criminal investigation, but of course, when you take a look at that video and you see all those police searching throughout the house, it certainly looks like one.


LALAMA: And tonight: Chicago police taser -- yes, taser -- an 82- year-old grandmother. They say the lady seemed out of control and swinging a hammer when officers arrived at her home on a routine wellbeing check. Standing at only 5-1, weighing no more than 160 pounds and diagnosed with dementia and schizophrenia and dementia, why did police resort to a high- volt weapon used on some of the most violent criminals?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: An 82-year-old woman tasered by Chicago police. Her family wants answers. A police spokeswoman claimed Lillian Fletcher (ph) was swinging a hammer at cops. That`s when they shocked her, up to 50,000 volts coursing through her body to immobilize the grandmother, the woman rushed to the hospital, now released. But just why was an 82-year- old 5-foot-1 woman tasered?


LALAMA: Good evening. I`m Pat Lalama, in for Nancy Grace. First: Police back at the home of a young mom of two who vanishes in the Chicago suburbs. Just what are police looking for?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: ... the case of Stacy Peterson. She is the missing wife of that Illinois police sergeant. With that young mother now missing for more than a week, as you can imagine, the search there growing more desperate, and all of this as we`re getting more details about the death of Peterson`s previous wife, investigators now taking another look at that death and the documents that detail Peterson`s abusive past getting new attention.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`ll start with the emergency room report dating all the way back from 1993, where the emergency room doctor puts that this woman was involved in an altercation with her husband. She was hit in the head and thrown against the dining room table. That`s all the way back to `93.

Now, if you skip ahead to 2002, after the third wife, Kathleen Savio, had filed an order of protection with police, she then writes this letter to prosecutors saying, and I quote, "When I found out Mr. Peterson was having an affair with a minor at the police department, he began to get very violent by striking me with his hand and chasing me through the house with a police stick. At that time, on record I had to get an order of protection from him. He knows how to manipulate the system, and his next step is to take my children away or kill me instead."


LALAMA: That is some compelling stuff. Right out to Keith Oppenheim, CNN correspondent. You are at the Peterson home. Tell us about the latest search warrant.

KEITH OPPENHEIM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it`s quiet tonight, but last night, there was a search at the home behind me of Drew and Stacy Peterson, Pat. And my sources are telling me that police came across some information in the course of their investigation that really willed (ph) them to come back here. They were here last Thursday. They were looking at cell phones, computers and a couple of vehicles. Then they did a second search warrant to come back last night, and they confiscated a few items. I don`t know exactly what they took, but they were here for just a little while and were looking mostly in the garage.

LALAMA: All right, Kathy Chaney, a reporter with "The Chicago Defender," the latest on the search, please.

KATHY CHANEY, "CHICAGO DEFENDER": They are still looking just for any clue that she is still alive or anything. They have not come up with anything. All the searches have come up empty. So they`re losing hope but trying to maintain some hope at the same time.

LALAMA: All right. And now the other new information, this letter to the attorney general, I believe -- Jon Leiberman from "America`s Most Wanted," it`s really -- when I read it, my jaw dropped. Tell us about that letter.

JON LEIBERMAN, "AMERICA`S MOST WANTED": It is really concerning, Pat. And you know, I`ll make clear, Drew Peterson obviously not charged with anything in the connection with the disappearance...

LALAMA: Absolutely.

LEIBERMAN: ... of Stacy and not charged at all in the accidental -- what was ruled an accidental death of his third wife.

LALAMA: Absolutely.

LEIBERMAN: But when you look at this letter, Pat -- this was a letter that his third wife wrote in 2002 to an assistant state`s attorney. I want to read you another excerpt that we haven`t heard yet. It says, "He kept me in this position for a very long length of time while trying to convince me how horrible I am and I just need to die. He asked me several times if I was afraid. I started to panic. He pulled out his knife, the one he left around his leg, and brought it to my neck. I thought I`d never see my boys again. I just told him to end this craziness."

LALAMA: Unbelievable. I`m going to stop you right there just for now, and then we`ll get back to that. That`s incredibly interesting stuff. But I want to go back to this new search warrant first. And Mike Brooks, our good friend, former Washington, D.C., police officer, let me ask you a question. Do you go back to the scene twice unless you`ve got some information that something`s there?

MIKE BROOKS, FORMER D.C. POLICE, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Absolutely not. There is something, whether it be from the computers, the cell phones or some interviews that they`ve done with other people, that led them back there. You just can`t go back to the house, Pat. These search warrants, they are approved by the state`s attorney and they are signed by a judge. So they had to have reasonable suspicion and probable cause to go back there looking for this additional evidence. What that was, they`re holding it very close to the vest. But you just don`t go back unless you develop something as this case moves along.

LALAMA: And Keith Oppenheim from CNN, at the scene of the Peterson home, was he around at the time? Have you gotten any impression of, you know, where he is and what he thinks of that new search warrant?

OPPENHEIM: Well, I talked to the state`s attorney about that. They just defer to the state police, who really wouldn`t talk about it. But our sense is that Drew Peterson was around here last week. With all the media presence, he is laying low now, but they know where he is. But he was not around last night at the time of the search warrant.

And to add to what Mike Brooks was talking about, my sources are telling me this is a very active investigation. So we don`t know exactly where they are in the process, but there is a great deal of intensity about it. And we should point out that it is not officially being called a criminal investigation, it`s still being called officially a missing persons case.

LALAMA: Absolutely. And we can`t forget that. And he`s not a suspect, either.

Dr. Jake Deutsch, doctor of emergency medicine, Hackensack University Medical Center, as time goes on and we don`t know where Stacy is -- but what does this do to solving mysteries like this, the elements? What happens in a situation like this?

DR. JAKE DEUTSCH, DIR. OF EMERGENCY MEDICINE: Well, certainly, we`re going to be concerned about loss of forensic evidence. Exposure, particularly to rain, any moisture is going to degrade any potential evidence. Other biologicals, such as blood, semen, body fluids, hair follicles have a greater chance to maintain their viability if it`s a little bit cooler, if it`s not as moist. But as time passes and the elements are affecting the evidence, it`s certainly going to contribute to getting some legitimate forensic information from the case.

LALAMA: All right. Before we talk to our other experts, I just want to go back to Jon Leiberman from "AMW" real quickly. There`s also an emergency room report that you referred to. Can you tell us -- where her head was slammed against a dining room table. Go into that for us.

LEIBERMAN: Back in 1993, Pat, the third wife had already been to the emergency room already shortly into the marriage. And this report right here, it`s detailed from ER doctor, says, "I was involved in an altercation with husband, was hit in head, thrown against dining room table." It`s right here in black and white. And this is all the way back in 1993.

One thing I want to add briefly, Pat, is we do know the search area for Stacy has expanded, as well. Equusearch went up in a plane, and they actually took one of Drew Peterson`s friends and they had him point out where Drew liked to fly...


LEIBERMAN: ... the routes that Drew liked to fly because Drew, as you know, was a pilot and has his own aircraft.

LALAMA: Right. Let`s take a call. Hope in New York, hello. And what`s your question?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi. My question is, I understand Drew went on a landscaping job when his wife disappeared. Have they ever thought to check the landscaping job that he did?

LALAMA: A landscaping job? Kathy Chaney, do you know anything about him taking a landscaping job?

CHANEY: No, that hasn`t been widely reported at all. But he was reported asking a friend to help him move something big.

LALAMA: But that`s all we know about it at this point?


LALAMA: OK. SO I`m sure the police have all that information.

CHANEY: Yes, and they`re not letting us know.

LALAMA: All right. Well, this is going to be an interesting discussion because we`ve got some good new material to work with. So the first thing I want to do is go to my good friend, Mickey Sherman, defense attorney. Now, you know everyone`s going to think everyone`s ganging up on Drew because of this police report and because of this letter. You would say?

MICKEY SHERMAN, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, I`m just so glad for him that he`s not a suspect. He must feel pretty good about that.

LALAMA: You`re being sarcastic, I presume.

SHERMAN: And that this is not a criminal -- why do we say that? I mean, this is so silly.

LALAMA: Because we have to assume that.

SHERMAN: Well, no, we don`t. If your house is crawling with police officers and forensic people, trust me, you`re a suspect and it`s a criminal investigation.

The problem I have here is that we draw the conclusion that if he had a fight with his wife and there`s nothing -- there`s nothing that excuses hitting your wife or any other woman. But not everyone who gets involved in domestic violence kills their wife. And that`s the problem that we have because we like to just make it very simple. He did it before, he must have killed her.

LALAMA: All right. Well, let`s go down the list here. Let`s now talk to Alan Ripka. Are you in cahoots there with your buddy Mickey on this one?

ALAN RIPKA, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, what I don`t like the fact is that they had to get a search warrant to search the house. I mean, at the end of the day, if your wife is missing and you`re concerned, you`re going to cooperate. And what you`re going to do is you`re going to allow access and entry to the house and you`re going to show the police around in case it leads them to helping to find her. So that`s not a good sign. So in that aspect, I do agree with Mickey.

LALAMA: Trenny Stovall -- hope I said that right...


LALAMA: ... family law attorney and child advocate, boy, that letter doesn`t sound good. Now, there are always two horrific sides of the story...


LALAMA: ... when it comes to marital discord, but this sounds like a desperate woman, does she not?

STOVALL: She sounds very desperate. She told her family and friends that she was afraid of this man. He has a history of violence. And while some of this information might not be admissible at trial, the fact is, his first wife -- his third wife -- third wife, we don`t know what happened to one and two -- died under mysterious circumstances. He has a wife missing now, and he is not being available and helpful to the police. He has children he`s not even making available to talk to the police. And my question is, Why is that? What`s that about?

LALAMA: Yes, Mickey, why won`t he let the police talk to the kids?

SHERMAN: It`s lose/lose. If he keeps them away from the police, everyone`s going to say he`s covering up. If he allows them to talk to the police, no matter what they say, the words are going to be used against him, no matter whether they say he`s innocent, guilty or he was at McDonald`s on Tuesday. Somehow, some way, it will be spun against him. He knows that.

LALAMA: Well, OK, go ahead, Trenny.

STOVALL: I don`t believe that. I`m a child advocate attorney. The fact is, you have trained professionals talking to children. They`re trying to find their mother. There is a way that you talk to them to assure that they`re not re-traumatized. But if they have any information and if he wants to help find his wife, he`ll use every option possible.


LALAMA: Hold on, guys. I want to -- I think Jon Leiberman from "AMW" wants to chime in here. Go ahead, Jon.

LEIBERMAN: If Drew Peterson had nothing to do with the disappearance of his wife, then why isn`t he out beating the bushes, trying to find her? Why isn`t he...

LALAMA: Well, all right...

LEIBERMAN: ... out with searchers?

LALAMA: So -- that`s a good question.

LEIBERMAN: Why isn`t he up in his plane?

LALAMA: Mike Brooks -- Mike Brooks, as a law enforcement person, I mean, what do you -- do you look at that a little strangely when the -- when the -- he, Drew, might just be so traumatized, he can`t deal with it?

BROOKS: Well, you know, there are some people -- the other day, he got on his motorcycle, you know, with the bandanna over his face, the baseball cap, you know? And he`s -- if he`s so concerned, why isn`t he at the command post seeing exactly what`s being done by the state police and his local police that he works for? He`s a sergeant. He`s a supervisor. You know, I see a lot of similarities here, Pat -- Scott Peterson, Drew Peterson.

LALAMA: OK. Well, we have to say it. Mickey can laugh, but we have to say for the sake of fairness that this man has been charged with nothing.

Alan Ripka, what would you -- would you let this guy talk -- his kids talk to the cops?

RIPKA: Well, I think at the end of the day, everyone has a different strategy. And you know, they -- hopefully, he`s speaking to the cops. And a lot of fathers may not want their children to be traumatized. After all, if he is innocent, they`re traumatized enough by losing their mother, and them speaking to the cops and getting grilled may not help at all.

LALAMA: Keith Oppenheim from CNN, at the scene, have you seen the children? Does anybody know who`s taking care of those kids today?

OPPENHEIM: Well, there is a sense that the children are with family. There`s a story out there that the children are with his older children. In other words, he`s got a 2-year-old and a 4-year-old with Stacy. He has adult children. They may be with him. But to be honest with you, I have heard that, and it`s not confirmed as to exactly where they are, other than the fact that it`s pretty clear that they are within his custody somewhere.

LALAMA: All right. Dr. Deutsch, getting back to wife number three, to exhume the body, if they should choose to do that, is not a simple process. And how does that impact someone in your situation, in terms of helping an investigation?

DEUTSCH: Well, certainly, the medical examiner would then want to conduct an autopsy, looking for other evidence that may not have been accounted for at the time of death. And they would be looking for things like foul play, any subtle injuries that could have contributed to the death. They may be even able to do toxicology testing in order to see if there was any foul play with poisonings or other ingestions that may not have been thought of when this person was initially, you know, thought to have died for some other reason.

LALAMA: Dr. Reef Karim, psychiatrist, very quickly, look at that police report. Look at that letter. What does it tell you?

DR. REEF KARIM, PSYCHIATRIST: It tells me that this is a man that has had verbal abuse and physical abuse done towards at least wife number three, if not possibly the current wife. And there is a history of this, and there is a precedent in most people behaviorally to do this again and again and again.

And the other factor here is they met when she was 17 and he was 47. I mean, that`s ridiculous! This is a woman who one second is trying to get a fake ID to get into a bar at that age, and now suddenly, she has (SIC) a wife and two kids. She`s going to completely change, and a lot of older men can`t handle that.

LALAMA: All right. Tonight, as we celebrate the birth of Nancy and David`s new twins, head to the Nancy Grace baby blog -- exclusive photos, video and messages from Nancy. Right now, there`s another brand-new message about Lucy Elizabeth and little John David. So go to and click on Nancy`s baby blog.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Last night, the Illinois state police came to Drew and Stacy Peterson`s home. They had a search warrant, and they looked largely in the garage. We are told that they did confiscate some items as a result of their investigation. And this was not the first time that they came here. They were also here last Thursday, and they were looking at such things as cell phones and computers, as well as a couple of vehicles.


LALAMA: I`m Pat Lalama, in for Nancy Grace. You know, I just want to read something. I know, Jon Leiberman, you`ve got this, and I want you to respond to it. This is the letter that wife number three wrote to the state`s attorney, and something struck me. She says, "I have been several times throughout the marriage in the emergency room, and I have reported this, only to have the police leave my home without filing any report." She`s implying that the local police, the department he worked in, wasn`t doing anything.

LEIBERMAN: Well, that`s certainly what she`s implying. Now, we do know there are a few police reports, one for breaking and entering into her property, most of them involving property. So they did take some record of coming out to her house. So we can`t -- you know, we can`t blame Bolingbrook police for not taking reports. In fact, we know that there were about a dozen reports taken over the span of their marriage.

LALAMA: Right. Mike Brooks, you want to weigh in on that as a member of law enforcement? You know, and we`re not blaming the police. This is a probably very precarious situation, and we know with domestic violence allegations, it`s also iffy sometimes. But I thought they had to write it down any time they showed up at somebody`s house.

BROOKS: Well, you usually do take a report. As Jon was just saying, there are -- there is some paperwork that said, yes, the reports were taken. And if we go back to that report where she said -- when she had the altercation with her husband back in 1993, keep in mind, Pat, that`s back before all of the strict, strict, you know, domestic violence laws were enacted, you know, because now if you go to someone`s house and even if they don`t press charges and there`s a sign of a struggle or something, somebody`s going to go to jail for domestic violence. That`s the period (ph). But back then, that`s not the way they handled things, unfortunately.

LALAMA: Kathy Chaney, I`ve asked you every night and I`m not going to stop now. What about wives number one and two?

CHANEY: We have not located them, no. We have not located them, and they have not been forthcoming at all.

LALAMA: You know what, Mickey Sherman? According to this woman`s letter to the state attorney, she said that her ex actually bought a remote control and programmed it so he could sneak into her house and lie in wait and then scare her half to death. Defense attorney, what do you say about that?

SHERMAN: I would go to the next piece of evidence because that`s damning, I got to tell you. And I so agree that -- that`s the old boy network working, is not filing a report and not arresting him. But the problem is that that letter, as someone pointed out before, is not coming into evidence if this guy gets arrested. I don`t see it coming in. It`s not competent evidence. It`s incredibly revealing, but I don`t know.

LALAMA: Well, we`ll have to ask your colleagues about that when we come back.

Well, the twins are here, and Nancy has a special new message about Lucy Elizabeth and John David. To check out this exciting new message and more exclusive photos and videos, go to and click on Nancy`s baby blog.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Investigators in Bolingbrook, Illinois, west of Chicago, have again searched the some of a cop whose wife`s been missing for more than a week. That`s the second warrant executed in less than a week at the home of Sergeant Drew and Stacy Peterson. Police are not giving many details about what they`re looking for. Stacy Peterson went missing October 29. Her husband said she left him for another man, but her family disagrees, saying she was afraid of her husband and wanted a divorce.


LALAMA: I`m Pat Lalama, in for Nancy Grace. Let`s go to West Virginia and a call from Karen. Hi, Karen.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want to say congratulations to Nancy and David on the twins. My question is, when the third wife made the allegations of the abuse, was there any consequences that Drew had for his job?

LALAMA: Well, let`s talk to Jon Leiberman about that. The caller wants to know what was the consequences of his job when the allegations were made from wife number three?

LEIBERMAN: Well, there weren`t any serious consequences, Pat. There was an order of protection. He was ordered to stay away from her. But in terms of his job, it was as normal. He was still a sergeant and still on the force.

LALAMA: OK, I want to go to Keith Oppenheim from CNN. And you are at the Peterson house. What`s next? I mean, I know every day, something`s new, but quickly tell us what`s on the agenda.

OPPENHEIM: Well, we`re not really sure, just that it`s a very active investigation. Police are trying to get some details.

I want to add one thing based on what others have said here. I talked a lot to the state`s attorney`s office about the Kathleen Savio part of the story, the third wife who died in 2004, drowning in a bathtub, according to a coroner. Now, that letter that you`ve been referring to, the state`s attorney office indicates that the state`s attorney, James Glasgow, who is basically the local prosecutor, and he`s looking at that letter as part of the larger investigation into the circumstances of the third wife`s death.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Illinois state investigators went back for the second time to the home of a missing mother, 23-year-old Stacy Peterson vanished 10 days ago. Her husband, Drew Peterson, is a Bolingbrook, Illinois, police sergeant. Investigators reportedly want to talk to his children from his previous marriage, as well. Peterson`s third wife drowned three years ago. He claims that Stacy took off with another man. Stacy`s aunt said she would never do that, she would never leave her two young children.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She would not leave her babies. That`s why she was trying to stay together for the family and if she was going to get out, she was trying to figure out how to take the children.


LALAMA: I`m Pat Lalama in for Nancy Grace. I think it`s really important to bring up something important about Stacy`s young life, and according to family members, she suffered her own level of abuse, verbal abuse and not certain what other kind at the hands of her father, according to family members.

Dr. Reef Karim, could this explain -- maybe she was vulnerable, why is she 17 and interested in a 47-year-old when you come from a troubled background? Does it fit for you as a psychiatrist?

DR. REEF KARIM, PSYCHIATRIST: Yes, this is the whole concept of the father figure model. There`s a big research topic that is really hot right now in the science community, it`s called attachment disorder. And essentially what that means is how you bonded with your caregiver of the opposite sex and the same sex.

So in this case, if you weren`t getting what you needed from your father, emotional attachment, bonding, all of that kind of stuff, you may search for it later on in life when you actually start dating and you get into romantic relationships.

That may be why, in this case, she`s looking for a guy 30 years older than her to kind of model her behavior and give her what she didn`t get in her childhood.

LALAMA: You know, Alan Ripka, Mickey was saying that a lot of this stuff, these allegations from wife number three aren`t going to make it to court, do you concur?

ALAN RIPKA, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, I don`t know about that. I mean, if.

LALAMA: If he gets convicted or -- excuse me, gets charged with anything. Let`s just keep making that clear, Mickey, don`t laugh, it`s true. We`ve got to do that.

RIPKA: Well, there are two aspects to this. First of all, if he is charged and there is a trial and he claims that he`s not a hostile guy, that he does not have this sort of background, they can bring things in to contradict what he said.

As well, just like in the prior Specter trial, as we all know, they had many of his prior girlfriends testify as to the violent propensities that he had and that can happen if he`s charged and this case is tried.

LALAMA: Trenny Stovall, family law attorney, how would you play this one?

TRENNY STOVALL, FAMILY LAW ATTY., CHILD ADVOCATE: I think that it would be good for them to try to get that information in, however, she`s deceased and the fact is you are going to have a serious hearsay hurdle to get over.

The fact, though, is I hope that this will require them to really look into the death of the third wife and to find out what really happened to her, because it looks like it just kind of got swept under the rug.

I think they need to go back and look at all those nice bogus property damage visits that the police officers made to that house, because it looks like they had to write something down.

LALAMA: Mickey Sherman, you want to weigh in?

MICKEY SHERMAN, DEFENSE ATTY.: As I say, it`s the blue line. It`s the old boy network. I think they were kind of taking care of their own. You can`t get away with that these days, as Mr. Brooks points out, these days, domestic violence laws and practices are such that police come out, somebody is getting popped.

But I don`t think that document is going to get in because it can`t be cross-examined.

LALAMA: Mike Brooks, do you want to weigh in on this one?

MIKE BROOKS, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: I`ll tell you what, one of the things that -- the whole theory that he`s saying on this case, that she ran off with someone else, well, Pat, if that`s the case, there has to be something on the cell phone or on the computers that they took out of that house on the first search warrant last Thursday.

You know, if that`s true, there has got to be some communication between somebody and we have been hearing all week, Pat, from some of her closest friends that even if she had run away, she would not leave her kids and she would let somebody know that she was OK. It just doesn`t wash right now.

LALAMA: Well, Alan Ripka, doesn`t it seem like he does know the tricks? I mean, what about this alleged phone call at 9:00 p.m. where he says she called him and said, I`m leaving you for another guy?

RIPKA: Well, obviously, if in fact he`s putting up a defense, he`s trying to lay out a story that seems consistent to the public and to the authorities. But as we know, she told her family that she was concerned about him. And that comes in and weighs in against what he says, as well.

LALAMA: Keith Oppenheim, do you know -- back at the scene you are at the Peterson home, CNN correspondent, are the police interested in wives number one and two? Have they even brought that to the forefront at all?

KEITH OPPENHEIM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, they haven`t talked about wife number one and two at this point. They seem to be much more focused on what they can learn about wife number four gathering evidence, talking to people. So, the fact that he`s married four times or that his third wife died, at this point, is not directly related to the investigation.

All that -- as we have been reporting that the state`s attorney is looking into the old police file of what happened with wife number three, but no mention of the first two wives so far that I know of.

LALAMA: OK. Kathy Chaney, do you know if there`s anything new on the efforts of law enforcement to speak to the children?

KATHY CHANEY, CHICAGO DEFENDER: No, there is nothing new on that. Again, They`re staying pretty tight-lipped with the media. But they just have requests to speak with the children, but we`re not sure.

LALAMA: OK. Jon Leiberman, I just -- you know, there were some references in wife number three, I should call her Kathleen, and her letter to the attorney general about Stacy who became wife number four. Could you explain that to us?

JON LEIBERMAN, "AMERICA`S MOST WANTED": Yes, Kathleen basically put in that letter that she was well aware of the affair that her husband was have having with this 17-year-old. It`s interesting to point out that Drew Peterson actually had to get that relationship OKed with his police supervisors.

He essentially went to them and said, I`m going to start dating a 17- year-old, do you have a legal problem with that or an administrative problem job-wise? And he was sort of given on the stamp that it was OK. I want to point out two quick things, Pat. One is that wife number three`s sister, we spoke to today, and she said that the family supports Kathleen`s body being exhumed, if that`s what prosecutors determine they want to do to reexamine the quote/unquote "accidental death." That`s one thing.

Second thing, we`re hearing that police have obtained enough evidence now in this case that the next logical step would be to bring it in front of a grand jury.

LALAMA: OK. Dr. Jake Deutsch, the family has to sign off on exhuming the body, do they not? I mean, they have to be involved in the process.


LALAMA: And if they didn`t want it to happen, could law enforcement or medical people override that somehow if it was necessary to the case?

DEUTSCH: Well, certainly, that`s more of a legal issue. And it would be something that the medical examiner would take care of and process the information in terms of getting to the cause of death.

In terms of forcing the family to do that, that is not something that is in the realm of medical community. That would be up to the lawyers to decide. However, it would be important, I think in this case, we really need to get the factual cause of death in order to understand really what has happened.

LALAMA: Yes, you are right. Ali from Rhode Island. Hi, Ali, what is your question?

CALLER: Hi, Pat. I find it awfully suspicious that Drew Peterson went to the airport the day that she went missing to put an inspection sticker on the plane. Have they questioned anybody at the airport to see if he took the plane out?

LALAMA: Good question. Keith Oppenheim, CNN correspondent, what about his airplane and his claim that he got her car from another airport but he has got a plane at another airport. How important is that to this investigation?

OPPENHEIMER: Well, that`s a story that he has been giving as to where he left - where his plane is and where her car was. Police have not given us a lot of details about what they have been looking at in those areas, but that is what one could assume is part of their investigation.

LALAMA: Betty Jo from Indiana, hello, Betty Jo.

CALLER: Hi. Thank you for taking my call, Pat. I just wanted it know, has anyone found out whether there was a life insurance policy on Stacy Peterson taken out by Drew Peterson?

LALAMA: Yes, Mike Brooks, there was a life insurance policy, was there not, on wife number -- oh, you`re asking about Stacy. I don`t think that information is out yet.

Kathy, do you know, Kathy Chaney?

CHANEY: It is not out yet.

LALAMA: OK. All right.

To tonight`s case alert, a 76-year-old cop, a beloved husband and father on the force for two decades, gunned down in the Ft. Lauderdale area. Convicted felon, 40-year-old Michael Mazza on his way to court in a prison medical transport van when he overpowers Deputy Paul Rein. Mazza shoots Rein with his own gun, then leaves him to die in a parking lot. Mazza captured hours later outside a Hollywood, Florida, pawnshop. He was already serving a life sentence at the time and on trial facing yet another life sentence on robbery charges.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Obviously it is a pretty trying day for us, but this is how we like to see it end where our goal is always to try to resolve the case before the funeral. It helps bring closure to the family and I`m happy that we were successful in bringing it to a successful conclusion.


LALAMA: When we come back, police Taser, yes, Taser, an 82-year-old grandmother. They say she was out of control, swinging a hammer.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It started as a welfare check and ended with a Taser. Now, 82-year-old Lillian Fletcher`s family want answers to why the five-foot grandmother was Tasered with up to 50,000 volts of electricity. The Department on Aging went to Lillian`s home to conduct a welfare check. She wouldn`t let them in and they called police. Police gained entry and Lillian came out swinging with a hammer. That`s when the 82-year-old was Tased. The Chicago P.D. trying to determine if the officer violated policy while Lillian is at home still recovering from her injuries.


LALAMA: I`m Pat Lalama in for Nancy Grace. Pardon the pun, this is stunning. This woman, I mean, come on. We`re all pro-law enforcement here, but Kathy Chaney, what is the latest on this lady?

CHANEY: Well, she is out of the hospital, she spent five days in the hospital and now she may have to undergo surgery because there may be some fluid on her brain, possibly as the result of the Tasering.

LALAMA: Jon Leiberman, you know, does she have a case against the Chicago P.D. are you hearing?

LEIBERMAN: Look, I mean, here is the bottom line. This is a regrettable incident, Chicago Police are reviewing it, but as Mike Brooks will tell you in a second, I`m sure, a lot of times police do have to make split-second decisions. If this woman is -- and look, I`m going to get beaten up over this, but if this woman is swinging a hammer uncontrollably, this police officer must have thought that he was in some sort of danger.

Did he need to use a Taser? Probably not. But in the split second that he did use that 50,000 volts of electricity, he probably thought he was justified. The department is now going to go back and review it. They may very well find that he shouldn`t have done it.

LALAMA: Mike Brooks, I just hate trying to second guess, you know, law enforcement personnel. It is such a tough job. But in this one, wasn`t there something else two officers could do to this granny for heaven`s sakes?

BROOKS: Well, Pat, I tell you, it was a Taser. An X26 Taser, just like this, that was used by Chicago Police. And let me -- keep in mind, the people that use these Tasers in Chicago with the Chicago Police Department are field training officers, the best and brightest you have got on the street, and supervisors. OK. So keep that in mind.

Secondly, it`s not pleasant to see someone Tasered. We see pictures all the time, (INAUDIBLE) it is 50,000 volts. It`s not pleasant but it is very, very low amperage. There has never been a death as a result of a Taser. Usually there is some other pre-existing medical condition or there is the use of cocaine, those kind of things, or excited delirium. But, let me just tell you, one more thing.


BROOKS: Keep in mind, OK, if they went in and they tackled this woman and she went down, they broke her ribs and punctured her lung or they had to use a nightstick or pepper spray or an (INAUDIBLE), everybody would think, oh, it is terrible. It was over -- you know, use of force.

This is a less than lethal weapon. There will be an investigation, but from what I see right now, Pat, she was swinging a deadly weapon. They had the right to use the Taser, that is what we see so far.

LALAMA: It`s hard, she`s wearing that little pink cap and, oh, my gosh. Sheba from Illinois, you want to weigh in on this one? Sheba, you have a question?

CALLER: Yes, I do. I wonder how long she had been diagnosed with schizophrenia and if she had been taking her medication?

LALAMA: Well, Dr. Reef Karim, psychiatrist, she apparently has dementia and schizophrenia, we don`t know how bad it was, but describe for us what kind of a state she could be in with those kind of conditions.

KARIM: Yes, this case is ridiculous. Talk about not respecting your elders. It gives new meaning to that. Here, you`ve got a frail 82-year- old woman who has dementia. Dementia is -- about 3.4 million Americans over the age of 71 have it and, at her age, between 80 and 89, it is one quarter of Americans in this country have it. It`s very common. As we get older, it is going to be even more common. In my eyes.

LALAMA: She could have been -- go ahead, go ahead.

KARIM: No, I was just going to say. In my eyes, this is going to become a recurring problem over and over and over. And until law enforcement and just the general public understand mental illness and are really well trained in people that have mental illness -- this is ridiculous. This pisses me off.

LALAMA: Dr. Jake Deutsch, you know, what happens? What`s 50,000 volts like, especially for someone elderly like this grandma?

DEUTSCH: Well, you`re talking about a lot of volts, but it`s actually a low amperage. So the current actually isn`t as strong as it sounds. But the potential injuries are two-fold. You have the initial injuries from the Taser itself where you have the talons that are hooking into the skin or the clothes so you could have lacerations. You could have burns from the actual current.

The secondary injuries I think are more important and more common. The lacerations from falling, the contusions. And in this case, you`re talking about somebody who could have sustained a hip injury, had head trauma and had internal bleeding. Those could have been fatal.

And you know, I think that you`re trying to outweigh the benefit using a handgun? You`re talking about excessive force that could have ultimately resulted in death in just a different set of circumstances.

LALAMA: Trenny Stovall, family law attorney, how do you weigh in on something like this? Would you understand the cop`s position or are you going with grandma?

STOVALL: I go with grandma. My grandmother raised me so I have no sympathy for this. The question is, was there a chance of imminent harm to someone? The fact is she was initially in that home alone, she was wielding a hammer at who, at what? At the wall? I have no -- it`s inexplicable to me as to why they needed to use a Taser against an 82-year- old woman.

LALAMA: Why do I have a feeling that Alan Ripka is going to be on your side with this one. Alan?

RIPKA: Well, I don`t think so, actually. Because in this particular case, the cops come in. They are not there to assess her mental stability and her rage. For all they know, she is about to wing this hammer at them and maybe hit one of them in the head. And it`s their job to defend themselves. They don`t know exactly what is going on.

LALAMA: Well, that`s true, that`s true.

Mickey Sherman, I mean, a hammer could be a deadly weapon, could it not?

SHERMAN: Yes, you know what? So they could have turned around and went home. They`re there on a wellness visit, OK? They are supposed to be there to help her. I mean, this is insane. And the fact that is such a low voltage, 82 years old, she could have a heart attack if the Lifetime channel goes out. I mean, this woman should be watching the QVC station, and now saving and now deciding how much she wants to spend -- where she wants to spend her $16 million that she`s going to clean up from the city.

LALAMA: Yes. Jon Leiberman, what do you say? Is there going to be a big old lawsuit in Chicago?

LEIBERMAN: No, I just want to point out, the Department of Aging was there for a wellness visit, they see her wielding the hammer and they`re the ones that call police to say, come and check out what`s going on with this woman. But, you know what, I agree with Mike on this one, you know, police are faced with these split-second decisions and they clearly thought there was some sort of risk to them.

We can second guess them all day. I think at the end of the day, even if the department that the Taser wasn`t used appropriately, you are not going to see any major action.

LALAMA: Mike Brooks, I`ve just got 20 seconds. Is a hammer a deadly weapon?

BROOKS: Absolutely. I don`t care if it`s in the hands of a 17-year- old kid or an 82-year-old woman. I`ve seen officers get seriously injured with a hammer. It`s a deadly weapon, plain and simple.


LALAMA: Now over to HEADLINE NEWS Glenn Beck. Hey, Glenn.

GLENN BECK, HOST, "GLENN BECK": Coming up, oil is heading to $100 a barrel and the dollar seems to be spiraling down. What does it really mean for America? We`ll have some answers.

Then, Hillary Clinton loses ground to Obama. Is there a chance Hillary won`t get the nod in `08?

Also, Mexican hit squads are operating on American soil. We`ve been warning about these scumbags for a while and tonight I`m going to introduce you to a man who is risking his life it put these guys away forever.

And Rosie O`Donnell back on television? It might actually be a good thing. I`ll explain, coming up.

LALAMA: All right. Well, we`re talking about this amazing case. The 82-year-old Chicago "grandma with a hamma," so to speak, and that not that we should make light of it. But I mean, it`s a wild case, the cops Taser her.

Mickey Sherman, this could be somebody`s grandmother, she is. Would you take a case if she said, come on, Mickey, help me win?

SHERMAN: I`d get on a plane tomorrow. And not for a lot of money, either. Again, I`m a pro-cop guy and I totally agree with Mike that a hammer is a dangerous weapon. But she`s 82. I don`t know how she even lifted the hammer for God sakes.

They could have better training, better discretion. I refuse to believe this is the best and brightest in the Chicago P.D.

LALAMA: Well, Mike Brooks, you probably -- you know, what do you want to say about that? Chicago has a great police department, I know it well.

BROOKS: Well, you know what, Pat? There could be a possibility that this woman did not even know that it was senior services there. She might not even have known that they were cops to begin with and she suffers from schizophrenia. I was a hostage negotiator and I have negotiated with a number of schizophrenics, you know, and they get into their delusions, their hallucinations, she might not have known that they were even police officers.

LALAMA: It`s so sad and she`s so cute and hope the best for her.

Tonight, let`s stop to remember Army Private Christopher McCloud, just 24, Malakoff, Texas. Killed in Iraq on his first tour of duty. He wanted to serve his country, a family man, he loved spending time with his wife and kids and barbecues with his cousins. He leaves behind his dad, Michael, two kids, 3-year-old Aidan (ph), and 2-year-old Landon (ph), and grieving widow Sheena (ph). Christopher McCloud, an American hero.

LALAMA: Thank you to all of our guests and to you at home for being with us. I`m Pat Lalama in for the fabulous Nancy Grace. Hey, Nancy, how are you doing? And remember -- how are the babies? And remember, visit Nancy`s baby blog for exclusive photos, videos and a brand-new message from Nancy on her newborn twins, that`s I`ll see you tomorrow night at 8:00 p.m. sharp Eastern and until then, have a wonderful evening. Good night.