A forensic pathologist says Drew Peterson’s third wife died from injuries from falling in the bathroom.
Dr. Jeffrey Jentzen, Director of Autopsy and Forensic Services at the University of Michigan Medical School in Ann Arbor, Michigan, testified at Peterson’s murder trial Tuesday. He said he did not believe Kathleen Savio’s death was a homicide.
Defense attorney Ralph Meczyk asked, “Based on your review of trial testimony, reports, police reports, and other materials furnished to you... have you come to a conclusion with respect to the manner of death of Kathleen Savio?”
“Yes, I have an opinion. It’s my opinion that she died from drowning, and the manner of death is accidental… She slipped and fell, she struck the left side of her body… She sustained a head injury, she was rendered unconscious, and in an unconscious state she drowned in the tub… I would certify the death as drowning, and the manner of death as accident,” Dr. Jentzen.
Earlier in his testimony, Dr. Jentzen said he believed Savio’s pattern on injuries were “classic for an individual who falls.”
“When people fall, they fall on the corners of their body, their elbows, their chins... this injury pattern is classic for a fall… It’s in the areas that you’d expect an individual to sustain an injury in a fall or a slip and fall,” he said.
Dr. Jentzen also said he’s seen injuries like Savio’s “almost weekly” in his work as a medical examiner.
Meczyk asked, “Did you see anything that would indicate to you... a struggle?”
“I did not… There was a very delicate gold necklace around the neck that was intact… There was no breaking of the fingernails or any defensive injuries,” said Dr. Jentzen.
During cross examination, prosecutor John Connor asked Dr. Jentzen, “you’ve previously testified in this case that it’s possible this case was a homicide?”
“That’s correct... basically, anything is possible,” replied Dr. Jentzen.
Investigators exhumed and re-examined Savio’s body and ruled that her death was a homicide. Savio's death was initially ruled an accident, but investigators reopened the case in 2007 when Peterson’s fourth wife, Stacy Peterson, went missing. Stacy’s whereabouts are still unknown, and Peterson is not facing any charges related to her disappearance.
READ MORE: Doctor: Savio's death wasn't an accident
Peterson has pleaded not guilty to murder charges in Savio's death and has been on trial since late July. There are no cameras allowed in the courtroom, but In Session on truTV is covering the trial from the Joliet, Illinois, courthouse.