Drew Peterson pleads not guilty in murder-for-hire plot

CHESTER, Ill. (AP) — Drew Peterson, a former suburban Chicago police officer convicted of killing his third wife and suspected in his fourth wife's disappearance, pleaded not guilty Tuesday to trying to hire someone to kill the prosecutor who helped put him in prison.

Peterson's feet were shackled as he waived a preliminary hearing in the court in Randolph County in southern Illinois. He was charged in February with soliciting an unidentified person to find someone he could pay to kill Will County State's Attorney James Glasgow.

Circuit Judge Richard Brown also granted Peterson's request for a speedy trial, meaning he would go to trial within 160 days or by July 28. Randolph County State's Attorney Jeremy Walker said the state would ready by July 13.

The former Bolingbrook police sergeant has been in prison since he was convicted in 2012 of Kathleen Savio's death eight years earlier. He is serving a 38-year sentence. His fourth wife, Stacy Peterson, disappeared in 2007.

Peterson, 61, is charged with solicitation of murder for hire and one count of solicitation of murder, both felonies carrying a maximum sentence of at least 30 years in prison.

Last month's announcement is the latest chapter in a case that became a media sensation almost from the day Peterson's 23-year-old fourth wife, Stacy, disappeared in 2007. A massive effort to find her included divers and cadaver dogs searching ponds and thick woods near Peterson's Bolingbrook home. The search was unsuccessful, with Peterson accused but never charged in the slaying of his young wife.

It continued after Savio's body was exhumed and authorities ruled her drowning a homicide. Peterson was interviewed countless times, joked about a "Win a Date with Drew" contest and discussed appearing on a reality TV show.

Throughout it all, Peterson maintained his innocence and his attorneys contended Stacy Peterson had run off with another man and was alive.

Drew Peterson did not testify at his trial, but addressed the court after he was convicted, blaming prosecutors for "the largest railroad job ever" and sarcastically telling Glasgow that the prosecutor could celebrate destroying his life.

He challenged the prosecutor to look him in the eye, then told him to "never forget what you've done here."

Glasgow issued a statement after the new charges against Peterson were announced, saying he would not let a threat to his personal safety affect the way he does his job.

Also Tuesday, the state filed a notice disclosing that Peterson's case twice involved use of eavesdropping devices, and the judge granted the state's motion barring defense and prosecutors from publicly disclosing evidence in the case to protect the identity and safety of an unnamed informant.