Drew Peterson’s much younger fourth wife, Stacy Peterson, went missing in October 2007. Her disappearance reignited interest in the 2004 death of Peterson’s third wife, Kathleen Savio, whose body had been found in a dry bathtub. Her drowning was initially categorized as an accident, but in 2007 her corpse was exhumed and reexamined. The death was then labeled a homicide.
A&E True Crime looks at Drew Peterson’s life behind bars.
Peterson Commits Another Crime in Prison
Following his conviction for Savio’s murder, Peterson was sent to the overcrowded Menard Correctional Center in Southern Illinois. A 2013 report from the John Howard Association, an outside prison monitoring group, noted that the maximum security facility, rated for 2,600 inmates, held more than 3,300 men.
[Stream an episode of Marcia Clark Investigates The First 48 on Drew Peterson in the A&E app.]
In a 2019 interview, Peterson said of Menard, “It was dirty. The mattresses I had, the pillow I had, you wouldn’t put your dog on it. It was terrible. Urine and defecation spread on the walls. It was a horrible, horrible place.”
While in Menard, Peterson asked another inmate, Antonio Smith, to arrange a hit on the attorney who’d prosecuted Peterson, Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow. Smith alerted authorities and assisted them by feigning interest in Peterson’s request. A listening device recorded many of their subsequent conversations.
On February 9, 2015, Peterson was charged in the murder-for-hire plot. In his defense, Peterson said he’d been aware their conversations were being recorded, but had continued to talk because working with authorities could help Smith get out of Menard. Peterson also stated he’d been feeling suicidal and had not intended to have Glasgow killed.
Peterson’s Transfer to Federal Custody
In a 2016 letter that later became public, an Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) official wrote, “Offender Peterson is a threat to safety and security of the department and therefore an Interstate Corrections Compact Agreement transfer is being initiated by IDOC.”
Kevin McMunigal, a criminal law professor at Case Western University’s School of Law and former federal prosecutor, tells A&E True Crime that because “the federal government tends to have more resources than a lot of states,” federal prisons “tend to be less crowded.” However, he says Peterson’s statements “might be a way to gain notoriety, by sort of thumbing his nose at the authorities. I’m not sure how luxurious life is [in federal prison].”
He also said that while behind bars he enjoyed watching sitcoms and movies, followed national politics and stayed in contact with his children. In 2019, Peterson was sent to an undisclosed state prison. The federal system lists his release date—meaning the date he was transferred out of federal custody—as December 6, 2019.
Where Is Drew Peterson Now?
IDOC said of Peterson’s departure from the federal system, “For safety and security purposes, the department does not discuss details concerning the placement of offenders who have transferred under the terms of the Interstate Corrections Compact Agreement.”
Another IDOC statement from 2019 declared, “Due to the nature of the holding offense and the offender’s identity as a former law enforcement officer, IDOC is keep [sic] this offender’s location confidential for his own safety.”
In November 2021, The Herald-News revealed that in October 2021, Peterson sent a letter to NBC News from Indiana State Prison in Michigan City, Indiana. Also in November, an in-prison interview with Peterson appeared on NBC’s Dateline. However, the program noted they “were asked not to name” Peterson’s location.
IDOC did not respond to A&E True Crime‘s inquiries about whether Peterson is still incarcerated in Indiana State Prison.
As of February 14, 2022, Peterson does not appear in the Illinois prison inmate database, though his case remains under IDOC jurisdiction. The Indiana prison inmate database also does not list Peterson.
If Peterson is, in fact, still inside Indiana State Prison, he is in a facility that experienced outside protests in 2018 about low-quality food, inadequate medical care and insect infestations. (Prison officials said inmates had lied about their living conditions.) Staffing shortages were cited as a potential factor when an inmate killed an Indiana State Prison corrections officer in February 2021.
Peterson Maintains His Innocence
In 2021, he submitted a handwritten motion to overturn his conviction for killing Savio. It claimed he’d had ineffective counsel, that the prosecution had intimidated witnesses, hearsay evidence had improperly been admitted and a TV movie had made it impossible for Peterson to receive a fair trial.
“[Peterson] exhibits signs of both antisocial personality disorder and narcissistic personality disorder. These kinds of individuals believe themselves to be above societal norms,” forensic psychologist Dr. John Delatorre tells A&E True Crime. “He most likely believes that he has done nothing wrong…. [and] his current incarceration is directly related to problems with the judicial system.”
A judge ruled there was a “gist of a constitutional” argument in Peterson’s petition. A court hearing took place in February 2022, and another is scheduled for May 18, 2022.
“[Peterson] probably believes he will eventually be released,” Delatorre says.
Yet other Peterson appeals, some with similar claims as in his latest petition, have failed. And even if his murder conviction were overturned, Peterson was found guilty of murder-for-hire, which came with a separate 40-year sentence.
Given that Peterson is now 68 years old, it is likely Peterson will be incarcerated for the rest of his life.