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Drew Peterson Trial: Jury selection completed, opening statements begin next week

Booking photo of former police sergeant Drew Peterson AP Photo/Will County Sheriff's Office

(CBS/AP) JOLIET, Ill. - The jury has been selected for the murder trial of former suburban Chicago police officer Drew Peterson. Among those who will hear the case are a poet, a letter carrier and a motorcycle enthusiast, and several who said they watched a recent Lifetime TV movie starring Rob Lowe as Peterson.

Jury selection began Monday and the last members of the panel were selected Tuesday afternoon. The 12 jurors and four alternates will get this week off as attorneys prepare their opening statements for July 31.

Peterson, 58, is charged in the 2004 death of his third wife, Kathleen Savio. His fourth wife, Stacy Peterson, disappeared in 2007.

"You will hear the story of Drew Peterson from beginning to end," said lead defense attorney Joel Brodsky. "We will show that the state's theory is implausible at best."

Prosecutors say Peterson killed Savio because he was afraid their divorce settlement would wipe him out financially. Her body was found in a bathtub in her home, her hair soaked in blood, just before the settlement was to be finalized.

The jury is likely to hear statements that Savio and Stacy Peterson allegedly made to friends and relatives about threats from Peterson. Such hearsay is usually barred, but an appeals court ruled jurors can hear the statements.

"We're anxious to get the trial started," said Will County's chief prosecutor James Glasgow, who will be delivering the state's opening statement. "We have finally come to the point we've been waiting for."

Police ruled Savio's death accidental until they began investigating he disappearance of Stacy Peterson, who they believe is dead. The defense says that Stacy ran off with another man.

The jurors include a woman who said she likes to read the National Enquirer, but doesn't believe everything in the tabloid, and a research technician whose favorite TV show is "Criminal Minds." Another member is a woman whose father, like Peterson, was divorced three times.

Complete coverage of the Drew Peterson case on Crimesider

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