Former Illinois cop Drew Peterson yelled, "I did not kill Kathleen!" during the sentencing phase of his trial today -- and then a judge sentenced him to 38 years in jail for killing her.
The sentence came after Will County Judge Edward Burmila denied Peterson a re-trial in the killing of his third wife, Kathleen Savio, in 2004.
Peterson had faced as many as 60 years in prison.
At his sentencing, after Peterson shouted that he did not kill his wife, someone in the courtroom yelled in reply, "Yes you did!" according to ABC News Chicago station WLS. Burmila then ordered that person to leave the courtroom.
Peterson went on to claim that police "altered evidence" in his case and "intimidated witnesses and scared my children."
"I love Kathy," he said. "She was a good mom. ... She didn't deserve to die."
He added that he was planning to get a tattoo on his back that would say, "No good deed goes unpunished."
Peterson's defense team had requested a re-trial after he was found guilty in September of killing Savio and making it look like an accident.
The re-trial, Peterson's attorneys claimed, was warranted because his former lead trial counsel, Joel Brodsky, had "single-handedly" lost the trial last fall, according to attorney Steve Greenberg. Greenberg is a former colleague of Brodsky's, but the two have recently been embroiled in a bitter public feud.
Burmila today rejected all of the motions for a new trial and, as he said he would do, moved on to sentencing immediately.
It is the latest development in the bizarre story of Peterson, a former suburban Chicago police officer. In 2004, Peterson's third wife, Savio, was found dead in her bathtub, a death that was initially ruled an accident. But when his fourth wife, Stacy Peterson, disappeared in 2007, Savio's body was exhumed and her death ruled a homicide.
Drew Peterson has never been charged in connection with Stacy Peterson's case.
Drew Peterson's murder trial last fall was marred by legal battles between his attorneys and prosecutors over what evidence was allowed in court. On three separate occasions, Peterson's defense team asked for a mistrial, but it was rebuffed every time by Burmila.
A large part of the testimony in that trial was hearsay, based on comments that Savio and Stacy Peterson made to friends that portrayed Peterson as a violent and threatening husband.
Peterson said at his sentencing today that hearsay was "a scary thing" because people are not accountable for the truth, according to WLS. An emotional Peterson, his voice shaking at times, blamed the media for portraying him as a monster.
In September, a jury convicted Peterson, noting that it had reached a decision it believed was "just."
Savio's nephew Michael Lisak said afterwards that his aunt "can finally rest in peace."
"Today is a day for battered women, not just Kathleen Savio," Lisak said. "Your voice will be heard. My aunt's voice was heard through the grave. She would not stop. They will listen to you now."
Peterson's sister Cassandra Cales had a blunt message for the newly convicted murderer.
"Game over, Drew," she said. "He can wipe the smirk off his face. It's time to pay."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.Also Read