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Drew Peterson's final showdown in court

 

Editor's note: Judge Jeanine Pirro, host of "Justice with Judge Jeanine" on Fox News Channel has been covering the Drew Peterson trial. 

The clock looming over the packed courtroom ticks quietly. It is 2:38pm CT. More sheriff's deputies file in and surround the defendant. His face is flushed as he sits at the defense table -- his lead attorney is whispering in his ear. He wipes his mouth.

Family, friends and courtroom watchers remind each other to breathe. Some clasp their hands. Others hold on to each other. The only sound other than the ticking clock are the sounds of the sketch artists, some with binoculars, drawing furiously.

It's a scene all too common in courtrooms across America -- another jury that's reached its verdict -- another jury about to pass judgment. 

But this one is different.

The judge walks out, takes the bench, and announces the bailiff has advised the court that jurors have reached a verdict. The defendant puts both hands on the defense table -- his face beet red.

He turns to look at the audience. We make eye contact. His eyes are not happy. There are no winks -- no smiles -- no hands across the heart. 

This a face I haven't seen before. It is serious. It is focused. I imagine it's a face Kathleen Savio and Stacy Peterson saw in their final moments.

The jury finally files into the courtroom. It is 2:39 pm. They are all looking down. I've seen this before; I know what it means. I imagine he has, as well.

The judge asks if there is a foreperson and the younger man in the front row rises. 

We all breathe in. 

The judge asks if the jury has reached a verdict. He responds yes and the judge asks for the verdict sheet. 

It takes forever for that white piece of paper to go from the juror's hand to the bailiff to the judge. 

Suddenly the man in the black robe is the only one in the courtroom -- or so it seems. 

He reads without emotion, without hesitation, words, that to some bring relief, and to others final damnation. 

Some weep. Some put their heads down. 

He stares at the jury. The sheriffs move in closer; the sound of handcuffs being opened signal the future for him.

"Guilty -- Murder in the First Degree."

Finally -- Justice! 

Finally, common sense. 

Finally, she can rest in peace.

Jeanine Pirro joined the Fox News Channel (FNC) in 2006 and currently serves as a legal analyst as well as the host of "Justice with Judge Jeanine," a weekend prime-time program (Saturday, 9 p.m. ET) that presents her legal insights on the news of the week, current high profile cases, as well as recent issues and trends in the world of crime and justice. Click here for more information on Jeanine Pirro