Judge Edward Burmila has offered an alternative to a mistrial in the Drew Peterson murder trial.
“In this particular instance, there’s no doubt in my mind that the testimony they presented was a low blow, and should not have been presented to this jury. However, courts are also loathe to grant mistrials... in this particular instance, in the court’s mind, there’s another sanction, which would be to strike, in total, the testimony of that witness [Tom Pontarelli]," said Burmila.
Court is now adjourned until Thursday morning, so attorneys can research whether this alternative will be an adequate solution to testimony that the Judge says was improperly introduced at trial Wednesday.
Peterson’s defense team asked Burmila for a mistrial after Pontarelli, Peterson's neighbor, testified about finding a .38 bullet in his driveway.
Pontarelli said the bullet was placed there by Peterson in an attempt to intimidate him. Defense attorney Steve Greenberg said it is a highly prejudicial prior bad act that is not admissible at trial.
Burmila said, “I have to say that their [the prosecution's] argument makes absolutely no sense to the court whatsoever... it makes no sense whatsoever, the argument the state just put forward... I’m going to take the motion under advisement, and I’ll have a ruling for you at 1:15.”
Court will resume after lunch at 2:15 p.m. ET.
Earlier, Pontarelli said Peterson called him "an enemy” for remaining friends with Kathleen Savio after she and Peterson divorced.
Peterson is on trial for first-degree murder for allegedly killing Savio, his third wife, in 2004.
READ MORE: The prosecution's opening statements
READ MORE: The defense's opening statements
Pontarelli testified Wednesday that Peterson had a problem with him staying friends with Savio. Pontarelli told jurors about an incident that happened when Peterson showed up while Pontarelli was helping Savio move some things from her home into his garage.
“He told me he didn’t want anyone ‘moving my stuff,’ and ‘any friend of hers was an enemy of mine,’” Peterson testified.
Pontarelli was one of the people who found Savio dead in her bathtub.
Prosecutor Kathy Patton asked Pontarelli, “What did the defendant do when he entered the bathroom?”
“He checked her pulse, her wrist ... he said, ‘What am I going to tell my children?’" replied Pontarelli. "I stayed up there with Drew. Then we walked out to the landing right outside the bedroom door ... he made a phone call; I believe it was his cell phone.
"He says to the person that he just found his wife dead in the bathtub, and people are going to think he did it,” Pontarelli testified.
Pontarelli’s wife, Mary, also took the stand on Tuesday. She said the divorce between Peterson and Savio was bitter, but that as time went on, things between them seemed to be getting better.
During opening statements Monday, defense attorney Joel Brodsky called Savio an angry and bitter woman who had a hard time controlling her emotions. Mary Pontarelli admitted her friend could be “tough,” but she also testified, “I wouldn’t call her bossy... she had strong passions.”