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Our View: No special break for Peterson

Updated: November 22, 2012 6:41AM



Call us heartless, but convicted murderer Drew Peterson should not have been let out of his Will County Jail cell to pay his last respects to his mother. Nope. No way. No how.

County sheriff’s police officers took Peterson to a Darien funeral home this month for the wake for his mother, Betty Morphey. Our condolences to the family, but that’s outrageous.

Peterson, 58, was convicted last month of murdering his third wife, Kathleen Savio, in March 2004 in her Bolingbrook house. The couple were in the process of finalizing their divorce.

Peterson, who faces up to 60 years in prison, has yet to be sentenced. And it’s uncertain whether his conviction, based largely on hearsay evidence, will stand on appeal.

But with that conviction, Peterson should’ve forfeited his right to such privileges. That it’s fairly common for inmates to attend loved ones’ wakes or funerals doesn’t sway us, either. Not a bit.

People convicted of murder — throw in violent career criminals, pedophiles and other sexual predators here, too — should forfeit any personal perks and be treated harshly. Their victims didn’t get mercy. And exactly how does such consideration help with their rehabilitation?

Also, Peterson remains the prime suspect, but has not been charged, in the 2007 disappearance of his fourth wife, Stacy. He gets to say goodbye to his mother — something Stacy’s family may never be able to do for her.

State’s Attorney Jim Glasgow, who prosecuted Peterson, said he wasn’t consulted before Peterson was allowed to see his mother. Glasgow said he would have “strongly advised against it.”

So far this year, 100 Illinois state prisoners have been allowed to pay last respects to a relative, according to a state spokeswoman. Sometimes federal inmates are allowed to visit with terminally ill relatives or attend funerals. But those convicted of heinous crimes should not be among them.

Will County Deputy Police Chief Ken Kaupas said the fact it was Drew Peterson did not play into the department’s decision. That’s good. But it still was a bad one.



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