Updated 2:51 p.m.
The younger of two sons born to Kathleen Savio and Drew Peterson, Kris Peterson, entered the courtroom and spoke to his father during a break for about five minutes.
Defense attorney Joel Brodsky said Kris Peterson, who just turned 18, was there to sign a release to end a wrongful death lawsuit brought against his father by the Savio family. Kris Peterson's older brother, Thomas Peterson, signed the release two years earlier when he turned 18.
"The civil suit is done," said Brodsky, insisting that the release of all claims against Drew Peterson and his uncle James Carroll effectively kills the Savio's 2008 civil action.
Kris Peterson could not stay for the trial because he is on the defense witness list. Drew Peterson reportedly did not want him there anyway.
"You shouldn't be in here when they're showing pictures of mom," a court artist reported hearing Drew Peterson tell his son. Kris Peterson nodded and left.
Updated at 2:45 p.m.
Mary Parks explained that she didn't go to Kathleen Savio's funeral because she "didn't want to come face-to-face with her husband."
Defense attorney Steve Greenberg asked how she knew he would be there. Parks said, "I didn't want to take the risk."
Updated at 2:23 p.m.
Witness Mary Parks started crying as soon as defense attorney Steve Greenberg started his re-cross-examination. Judge Burmila called a recess to give Parks a chance to compose herself.
Updated at 12:25 p.m.
A friend and nursing school classmate of Kathleen Savio was on the witnes stand for nearly the entire morning.
The friend, Mary Parks of Joliet, told of Savio looking like she "was in shock" when she came to class at Joliet Junior College one day in the fall of 2003.
Savio unzipped the high collar of her sweat shirt and revelaed large, dark red marks on her neck, Parks said.
"There was a mark on either side of the neck and a mark in the middle, so there were three marks," Parks said.
She said Savio "told me the evening before, she was coming down the stairs and her husband came into the house and he grabbed her by the neck and he pinned her down."
"Kathy told me, she said her husband told her, and I quote, she said that her husband said at that point, 'Why don't you just die?'"
Parks said she advised Savio to call the police and invited her move in with her family.
"I made an offer for her and her sons to come live in my home," Parks said, but Savio did not take her up on it.
Parks also recounted how Savio let her know "her husband, Drew Peterson, told her he could kill her and make her disappear" and that he did not want her getting anything in their pending divorce.
"She told me that he said he wants it all," Parks recalled. "He wants the children, he wants the house, he wants the businesses, he wants the money, he wants everything."
Parks also said Savio "was afraid that (Peterson) could do something to her and make it look like an accident."
Months later Savio was found drowned in her dry bathtub and her death looked like an accident, at least to the Illinois State Police.
Parks said she called the Will County State's Attorney's Office shortly after learning of Savio's death in March 2004.
"I was trying to determine if there was an investigation into Kathy's death," she said.
"I asked the person that answered the phone if I might speak to someone about Kathy Peterson," Parks said. "I was put on hold and transferred to another person. It was a woman who told me ... that was not under investigation at this time."
Updated 9:50 a.m.
said he received a letter from a state prisoner linking the Peterson case to other crimes.
The inmate "has information linking this case to the Abraham Lincoln assasination and the (George) Zimmerman matter," said Burmila, who had the document added to the sealed Peterson case file.
The prisoner offered to provide more information if the judge reached out to him.
"I won't be communicating with him," Burmila said.
Today's witnesses will be friend Mary Parks, Coroner Patrick O'Neil and pathologist Larry Blum.
Yesterday, retired State Police Sgt. Patrick Collins and Savio's friend Kristin Anderson testified. Anderson's hearsay statements had been barred by Judge Stephen White from court but were allowed Wednesday in a surprise move from Judge Edward Burmila.
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