Private Autopsy Of Kathleen Savio's Body Questioned - The Chicago Criminal Law Blog

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Private Autopsy Of Kathleen Savio's Body Questioned

Questions have surfaced regarding the autopsy of Kathleen Savio, just days before former police officer Drew Peterson's trial for the murder of his third wife is scheduled to begin, according to the Joliet Herald News. Prosecutors have called for hearing to determine whether the involvement of a former Fox News producer was inappropriate.

Among the questions related to former Fox News producer Steph Watts, who filmed the 2007 autopsy and took notes, is whether he also assisted with the autopsy. Kathleen Savio's three-year-old corpse was exhumed and examined at the request of her family.

Drew Peterson's Illinois criminal defense attorneys have criticized the news producer's involvement in the procedure and also claim his autopsy notes curiously include the phone number for Joe Francis, the producer of the scandalous video line "Girls Gone Wild."

Chicago criminal attorney Joseph "Shark" Lopez said he believes this proves that the autopsy was flawed. Another one of the defendant's lawyers, Joel Brodsky, commented on the autopsy controversy to Chicago Tribune reporters:

"I'm almost surprised Steph Watts didn't do some of the incisions in the autopsy. They weren't just covering the news; this shows they were making the news."

However, it's unclear how the inclusion of Joe Francis' contact information on Steph Watts' autopsy notes is related to the actual case. The former Fox News producer did not return calls by reporters seeking comment but he is expected to appear in court.

Drew Peterson's lawyers are hoping to have the evidence of Kathleen Savio's autopsy, performed by celebrity medical examiner Michael Baden, thrown out of the trial. However, Joel Brodsky said he is "very much looking forward to getting Mr. Watts on the witness stand."

Kathleen Savio's body was found in the couple's bathtub and her death was quickly ruled as an accident. But the case was reopened soon after the disappearance of Drew Peterson's fourth wife, Stacy Peterson, who has not yet been found.

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