BOLINGBROOK – Drew Peterson doesn’t think being convicted of killing his third wife is a reason to strip him of his $6,000-a-month police pension.
But the Bolingbrook Police Pension Board unanimously agreed Thursday to hold a hearing that could do just that.
Peterson’s attorney, Stephen Greenberg, argued to the board that his client, now in prison but appealing his murder conviction, should not lose his pension.
“I did not discuss today’s hearing with him, but Drew and I have talked about the pension board’s plans in general,” Greenberg said. “He feels [the conviction] was ‘totally unrelated’ to his duty as a police officer.”
Peterson was an officer in the Bolingbrook Police Department.
Greenberg told the board before its vote that nothing in the indictment against Peterson alleges he committed his crimes while on duty and suggested waiting until the criminal appeal is resolved.
The board voted to move forward with the hearing on Peterson’s pension. But the hearing is not expected to take place before July, giving time for attorneys on both sides to prepare their cases.
Last year, the five-member board questioned whether Peterson’s conviction terminated his pension rights by committing a “job-related felony,” board attorney Richard Reimer said. The board hired Charles Atwell, a lawyer who specializes in pension funds, to review transcripts and evidence from Peterson’s trial. In January, Reimer and board members received a one-page report from Atwell saying there are sufficient grounds for cutting Peterson’s pension.
Peterson’s fourth wife, Stacy, vanished in October 2007. Peterson, 60, retired after 39 years on the department the following month when he was identified as the main suspect in her disappearance. He has received $6,000 each month since his retirement.
Stacy’s disappearance prompted state police to re-examine the March 2004 death of Kathleen Savio, Peterson’s third wife. Peterson was convicted of her murder in September 2012 and is serving a 29-year sentence in the Menard Correctional Center.
Reimer acknowledged not all felony convictions result in retired police officer losing pensions.
He also said the pension board has not seen the material that prompted Atwell’s recommendation. “That was done intentionally [because] the board members will make their decision based on what’s presented at the hearing,” Reimer said.
Peterson has the right to attend the hearing, but will likely appear via teleconference from prison, Reimer said.