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updated: 9/7/2012 3:04 PM

Peterson juror: Hearsay testimony 'crucial'

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  • This Nov. 8, 2007 file photo taken from video shows the grave site of Kathleen Savio at the Queen of Heaven Catholic Cemetery in Hillside, Ill. Savio was the third wife of former Bolingbrook, Ill., police officer Drew Peterson who was convicted of her murder Thursday, Sept. 6, 2012, at the Will County Courthouse in Joliet.

      This Nov. 8, 2007 file photo taken from video shows the grave site of Kathleen Savio at the Queen of Heaven Catholic Cemetery in Hillside, Ill. Savio was the third wife of former Bolingbrook, Ill., police officer Drew Peterson who was convicted of her murder Thursday, Sept. 6, 2012, at the Will County Courthouse in Joliet.
    Associated Press

 
Associated Press

The jury foreman in the Drew Peterson murder trial says hearsay testimony was "extremely critical" in jurors' decision to convict the former police officer of killing his third wife.

Jury foreman Eduardo Saldana spoke at a news conference in Joliet on Friday, the day after jurors found Peterson guilty in the 2004 death of Kathleen Savio. The 22-year-old Saldana says remarks Peterson's fourth wife, Stacy Peterson, made before her 2007 disappearance were crucial. He calls it "the biggest part about this."

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Saldana also says testimony from Stacy Peterson's pastor, Neil Schori, was important.

Saldana says the jury had discussions, but they never became heated. He says his impression was Peterson was "a real serious guy."

The jurors were split early in their deliberations and then later had one holdout who wasn't fully convinced.

Juror Tersesa Mathews says seven jurors voted guilty and four not guilty as they started their deliberations Wednesday. One was undecided.

But the 49-year-old says 11 favored convicting Peterson and just one still leaned toward not guilty heading into Thursday. They returned with a unanimous guilty verdict Thursday afternoon.

Mathews says discussions were never heated. She says comments Savio made before she died and those Stacy Peterson made before she disappeared in 2007 eventually convinced the lone holdout.

Peterson faces up to 60 years in prison when he is sentenced Nov. 26.

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