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updated: 8/2/2012 7:51 AM

Judge puts off ruling on mistrial in Peterson case

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  • In this courtroom sketch, Drew Peterson, foreground, looks on, as Will County State's Attorney James Glasgow gives his opening statement before Judge Edward Burmila and jurors Tuesday in Joliet in Peterson's murder trial. Peterson is charged in the 2004 death of his third wife Kathleen Savio.

      In this courtroom sketch, Drew Peterson, foreground, looks on, as Will County State's Attorney James Glasgow gives his opening statement before Judge Edward Burmila and jurors Tuesday in Joliet in Peterson's murder trial. Peterson is charged in the 2004 death of his third wife Kathleen Savio.
    ASSOCIATED PRESS

 
Associated Press

JOLIET -- The judge in the Drew Peterson murder trial has adjourned early and delayed a decision on declaring a mistrial.

A legal drama erupted Wednesday after a state witness let slip testimony that defense lawyers claim irreparably tainted jurors.

Instead of ruling immediately on the defense's mistrial motion, the judge granted a request to let Peterson's lawyers think through the matter until Thursday morning.

The witness, Thomas Pontarelli, mentioned on the stand that he once found a .38-caliber bullet in his driveway and believed Peterson planted it there to intimidate him.

Peterson is accused of killing his third wife, Kathleen Savio. Pontarelli was her neighbor.

With jurors out of the room, Judge Edward Burmila blasted prosecutors for working in the testimony. He called it a new "low."

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