CHESTER, Ill. (FOX 32/AP) - Secret recordings between Drew Peterson and an inmate he's accused of trying to enlist to help kill a prosecutor show that the former suburban Chicago police officer discussed getting drugs from Mexico and selling them in the US if he gets out of prison.
Jurors in Peterson's murder-for-hire trial in southern Illinois on Tuesday heard him boast to prison informant Antonio Smith about an acquaintance with "cartel connections."
Peterson, 62, is currently serving a 38-year-sentence. If convicted of trying to arrange the killing of Will County State's Attorney James Glasgow, he could be sentenced to another 60 years in prison.
In a series of recordings made inside the Menard Correctional Center that started November 13, 2014, Drew Peterson is heard talking with fellow inmate Antonio Smith about his case, his appeal, his hope to get out of prison and his desire to have James Glasgow murdered.
Peterson: "I can't wait to get, if I can get out of prison"
Smith interrupts: "And you said…. you said with Glasgow gone, right...."
"Yes," Peterson says. "Yes it'll get me out."
"It's a go, a 100 percent?" Smith asks, referring to the murder plot.
"Not a 100 percent," Peterson answers. "It's better…."
“It appears to me that his testimony and recordings are jiving with what we said was going to happen in the opening statement,” said prosecutor Jeremy Walker.
Smith, working as an informant, made up a story he fed Peterson that his uncle had just move to Bolingbrook and he could take care of the hit on Glasgow, which Peterson wanted to happen when the Will County State's Attorney was coming or going from his office in Joliet.
"If Glasgow is dead by Christmas, when will that put you out?" Smith asks Peterson. "Approximately, what do you think. Are you worried about his ADA's or anything?" (referring to assistant prosecutors)
"No," Peterson answers, "They're idiots."
Prosecutors played several hours’ worth of recordings and much of it was simply jailhouse banter, where Peterson ripped one of his attorneys and mocked the media.
He also talked about going into business with Smith, selling drugs they would buy in Mexico.
In addition to the hit, the two prisoners also talked about the price.
"If you can get that done, get it done," Peterson said. "Then that's the other thing, he wants 10-grand for it?" Peterson asked.
"Yes," Smith answered.
Peterson is later heard asking Smith: “So how long before you think your uncle can take care of business?"
"It'll be done by Christmas, if you say," Smith answered.
"It'd be a nice Christmas present," Peterson responds.
"If you say, it's a green light," Smith says, to which Peterson answers: "Go."
“I don't understand what other conclusion you would come to other than he wanted James Glasgow dead,” Walker added.
Smith testified Monday that Peterson, who was convicted of killing his third wife, Kathleen Savio, had referred to his missing fourth wife, Stacy Peterson, as a "dead woman" and said he killed her. But in the recordings played in court Tuesday, the former Bolingbrook police sergeant can be heard telling Smith that Stacy Peterson is "still alive, running around out there."
Peterson has pleaded not guilty to trying to arrange the killing of Glasgow, who helped convict him in 2012 of killing Savio eight years earlier.
Smith, 25, is serving a 40-year sentence for attempted murder, home invasion and robbery. The Chicago gang member nicknamed "Beast" told both Glasgow and the FBI about Peterson's alleged efforts to find a hit man. He also agreed to wear a wire in exchange for $3,200 from the FBI to replace property lost after he was transferred to the federal prison system following his involvement with Peterson.
Lucas Liefer, Peterson's lawyer, dismissed the recordings as fanciful prison boasts that don't include Peterson directly stating that he wants Glasgow killed.
Drew Peterson has never been charged in Stacy Peterson's disappearance and has maintained his innocence.
But Randolph County State's Attorney Jeremy Walker has said that Peterson wanted Glasgow killed in part because he was worried that the Joliet prosecutor would also charge him in his fourth wife's death.
Peterson's first-degree murder conviction in Savio's death is under review by the Illinois Supreme Court.