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

CHESTER, Ill. -- 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.

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.

With heavy security, Peterson's van made the short trip Tuesday morning from Menard Correctional Center to the Randolph County courthouse in Chester, Ill. He appeared in court wearing thick black prison-issued glasses, a white shirt, black pants and white Nike high tops. An older and pale-looking Peterson sat at the defense table with his legs shackled.

Peterson is charged with allegedly trying to hire a hit man to kill Will County state's attorney Jim Glasgow, who successfully prosecuted Peterson for the murder of Peterson's third wife Kathleen Savio.

As he looked around the courtroom, he exchanged glances with the media and made faces at the courtroom sketch artists. Facing murder-for-hire charges, the former Bolingbrook cop waived his right to a preliminary hearing on Tuesday.

"The reason is we didn't want anybody, we didn't want this case being tried before we get to a jury," said Lucas Liefer, Drew Peterson's attorney.

With no preliminary hearing, no details of the case were revealed. However, a motion filed from the Randolph County state's attorney indicates an eavesdropping device was used during the investigation. Peterson's attorney had no comment about the evidence or about a possible entrapment defense.

"I haven't gotten the discovery yet, so I know as much as everybody else knows and what Drew and I have discussed," Liefer said.

During the brief court hearing, Peterson also turned and stared at Cassandra Cales, the sister of Peterson's fourth wife Stacy Peterson. The 61-year-old remains the sole suspect in Stacy's disappearance. Cales says it was important for her to be in the courtroom today.

"Just to show Drew I'm not going anywhere, and I won't stop until Stacy is found," Cales said.

If convicted, Peterson faces 20 to 40 years in prison in addition to the 38 years he is already serving. 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 Associated Press contributed to this report.

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