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Drew Peterson: How his murder case upended a quiet community

When police Sgt. Drew Peterson was charged with murdering his third wife, it brought an intense media glare to Bolingbrook, Ill., a Chicago suburb. His conviction doesn't mean the community will slip back into obscurity any time soon.


Will County State's Attorney James Glasgow speaks outside the Will County Courthouse in Joliet, Ill., Sept. 6 after a jury convicted former Bolingbrook, Ill., police officer Drew Peterson of murdering his wife, Kathleen Savio, in 2004. He faces a maximum 60-year prison term when sentenced on Nov. 26. Illinois has no death penalty.

Paul Beaty/AP

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Drew Peterson’s guilty verdict drew a sigh of relief, not just from the victim’s family and supporters, but from people in the area where Mr. Peterson lived his life as a police sergeant for 30 years.

Bolingbrook, Ill., a community of about 74,000 on the far reaches of Chicago’s southwest corridor, became the focus of public attention in 2009 when Peterson was arrested in connection with the bathtub drowning of Kathleen Savio, his third wife.

An otherwise nondescript village bordering cornfields and filled with quiet cul-de-sac subdivisions, retail and entertainment strips and light industry, Bolingbrook got pushed into the media spotlight in many of the same ways other communities are when tied to salacious trials that drag on for years.

Village board meetings became cable news fodder, cable network personalities like Nancy Grace and Greta Van Susteren camped out on front lawns for weeks, and the town was depicted in a TV movie featuring a mustachioed Rob Lowe as the in-your-face suburban police sergeant.


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