JOLIET, Ill. - Drew Peterson - the swaggering Chicago-area police officer who gained notoriety after his much-younger fourth wife vanished in 2007 - was sentenced to 38 years in prison on Thursday for murdering his third wife.
The sentence came moments after Peterson shocked the courtroom with a rare public outburst of anger as he proclaimed his innocence in the death of Kathleen Savio.
"I did not kill Kathleen!" he shouted at the top of his lungs, emphasizing every word.
In this March 12, 2009 file photo, Peanut Corporation of America's president Stewart Parnell, arrives to United States Federal Court in Lynchburg, Va. A federal grand jury indicted four employees of a peanut company, Wednesday, linked to a 2009 salmonella outbreak that killed nine people and sickened hundreds. Parnell once directed employees to 'turn them loose' after samples of peanuts had tested positive for salmonella and then were cleared in a second test, according to e-mails uncovered at the time by congressional investigators.
Peterson seemed to look across the courtroom at Savio's family. Savio's sister Susan Doman shot back "Yes, you did. You liar!" before the judge ordered sheriff's deputies to remove her from the courtroom.
Illinois does not have the death penalty, and the 59-year-old Peterson had faced a maximum 60-year prison term. The judge gave him four years' credit for time he has served since his arrest.
Jurors convicted Peterson in September in Savio's 2004 death. Neighbors found the 40-year-old's body in a dry bathtub at home with a gash on her head - her hair soaked in blood.
Peterson is also a suspect in the disappearance of Stacy Peterson - who was 23-years-old when she vanished - but he hasn't been charged in her case. It was her disappearance that led authorities to take another look at Savio's death and eventually reclassify it from an accident to a homicide.
Fascination nationwide with Drew Peterson arose from speculation he sought to use his law enforcement expertise to get away with murder.
After his courtroom outburst, Peterson addressed the judge with a rambling speech, claiming he had been railroaded. He spoke in mostly hushed tones, crying and trying to regain his composure at times. His voice quivered and his hands were shaking as he reached out for a glass of water.
He aimed some of his anger at lead prosecutor James Glasgow, saying sarcastically that Glasgow could now celebrate because he had destroyed Peterson's life.
"You perpetrated the largest railroad job ever in this country," Peterson told him. Minutes later, Peterson challenged Glasgow to look him in the eyes. Glasgow, who had been taking notes, laid down his pen, folded his arms and looked straight back at Peterson.
"Never forget what you've done here," Peterson said, gritting his teeth.