Peterson attorney: Jury didn’t understand forensics
Drew Peterson's defense attorney's l-r Joseph Lopez, Joel Brodsky, Ralph Meczyk and Steven Greenberg talk after closing argument outside the Will County Courthouse in Joliet on Tuesday September 4, 2012. Meczyk, of Northbrook, organized and presented the
Updated: October 14, 2012 1:08PM
NORTHBROOK — In the eyes of the attorney who presented the forensics in defense of convicted murderer Drew Peterson, the jury simply didn’t understand.
Peterson, a former Bollingbrook police sergeant, was found guilty last week in Will County Court of killing his third wife, Kathleen Savio.
Meczyk, of Northbrook, said he was astounded when he learned that the jury had little, if any, idea of what the forensic presentations meant.
Meczyk handled all the forensic evidence, put expert witnesses on the stand and cross-examined the state’s expert witnesses.
“It was impossible to tell what the jury was thinking when the forensic information was being presented,” Meczyk said Monday by phone from his Chicago office. “They were extremely attentive and taking notes, but they claimed when the trial was over that they didn’t understand the medicine, though there were world class doctors testifying on both sides.”
Meczyk noted that he spent two months putting together the forensic aspects of the case, as well as being advised about it by forensic pathologists in Chicago.
The preparation for the case was “very arduous.”
Meczyk had to learn everything about the state’s expert witnesses, as well all they had ever written, to be able to challenge them if they said something inconsistent with their professional backgrounds.
“The state’s attorney’s theory was that a person can’t get a laceration on the back of the head and a big bruise on the pelvic bone in the front falling backwards in a bath tub,” Meczyk said.
“How does someone fall backwards and get a huge bruise in front? He can’t, so the bruise was probably old.”
Dr. Larry Blum, the forensic pathologist who performed the second autopsy on Savio’s body, had said the bruise on her pelvic bone was new, which supported the state’s theory, Meczyk said.
However, Blum never sent out tissue samples for further analysis that would have indicated that no white cells were present at the site, and iron deposits indicative of healing were present, he added.
“This was the highlight of the case, but the jury didn’t get it. If it was a fresh bruise, the iron deposits wouldn’t have been there. It was really old,” Meczyk said.
He also noted that the defense team’s greatest challenges were the pre-trial publicity and the hearsay law.
“Media wise, it was terrible,” he said. “Drew Peterson was almost the anti-Christ. There was a lot to overcome, but it would be like asking a jury to un-ring a bell.”
However, launching an appeal of the verdict based on the hearsay law is probably the best chance Peterson has to get out of prison, Meczyk said.