Menu

Peterson Defends Cavalier Attitude After Arrest

Former suburban Chicago police sergeant Drew Peterson defended his glib attitude toward his arrest on charges of killing his third wife in a televised interview that aired on Friday.

Speaking by phone from the Will County Jail, Peterson told NBC's Matt Lauer on Friday's "Today" show that he deals with stressful situations with humor and it's not in his nature to hide.

Peterson, 55, called his handcuffs "bling" and his red jail jumpsuit "spiffy" as he was led into court last week. Lauer asked Peterson if he worries that such remarks will make him seem unsympathetic.

Peterson said that "there's no book written" on how he is supposed to act, and he doesn't think it would be better if he had tears in his eyes.

Click here for photos.

"Would it be better if I hid my head down and tried to hide my face and hunched and had tears in my eyes? I mean, no, that's just not me," he told Lauer.

Peterson is being held on $20 million bond in third wife Kathleen Savio's mysterious bathtub death. He also is a suspect in the disappearance of his fourth wife, Stacy Peterson, who vanished in October 2007.

Peterson has often made jokes to the media, which have continued after his arrest.

He also said that while his two teenage sons know about his arrest, his younger children, ages 4 and 5, do not. He said one of his adults sons who is caring for all of them, has told the youngest children, "I'm just with the police right now, helping them."

He said his adult son, Stephen, is caring for his four younger children. He has two teenage sons with Savio and the two younger children with Stacy. He talks to his kids by phone every day, but they have not visited him, he told Lauer.

Peterson reiterated to Lauer what he has long said, that he had nothing to do with either the disappearance of Stacy Peterson or Savio's death.

Peterson, who has maintained that he believes Stacy left him for another man, told Lauer he believes she is alive and most likely living outside Illinois.

The former Bolingbrook, Ill., police officer hasn't been charged in her disappearance. But he now is accused of killing Savio, who was found dead in a dry bathtub at her home on March 1, 2004.

Her death was initially declared an accident, but was ruled a homicide after another autopsy.

The prosecutor in the case has said he intends to introduce evidence at trial that would allow Savio "to testify from the grave" through third-party statements uncovered during the investigation.

Peterson's arrest and indictment were the result of 18 months of intensive police work that garnered hundreds of leads and produced thousands of pages of investigative reports, according to authorities.

Stacy Peterson has never been found.

Drew Peterson is being held at the Will County Adult Detention Facility in Joliet, Ill. His children were taken by police and transferred to family services.

Peterson was arrested around 5:30 p.m. May 7 after state police surrounded his car at an intersection near his home in Bolingbrook. He was alone at the time.

“I guess I should have returned those library books,” Peterson said as he was being taken into state police headquarters.

State police later searched Peterson's home.

Savio's family has long voiced suspicions about the circumstances surrounding her death, especially following the disappearance of Stacy Peterson. They filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Peterson last month.

The lawsuit seeks more than $100,000 and alleges Peterson killed Savio before a scheduled trial over the divorced couple's property.

The lawsuit alleges Peterson went to his third wife's house on Feb. 28, 2004, to "brutally ... stalk, attack, repeatedly beat, then drown, decedent Kathleen Savio."

Savio survived the attack for an unknown period of time before drowning, the lawsuit says.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.