A pair of high-profile murder suspects, at different stages in their dealings with the justice system, have one thing in common: they’ve both got opportunities to cash in on their notoriety.
Casey Anthony, as you likely remember, was acquitted last month for the murder of her 2-tear-old daughter Caylee in what many people consider to be both a miscarriage of justice (innocent? really??) and a triumph for the justice system (the defendant should not be found guilty unless the prosecution has proven its case beyond a reasonable doubt. period).
The Drew Peterson case, on the other hand, illustrates tragedy performed as dark comedy: After his fourth wife, Stacy Peterson, disappeared in October 2007 (“Where is Stacy Peterson?”), Drew Peterson, the default suspect, embraced his notoriety. And when I say “embraced,” I mean he positively reveled in it. Apparently confident that the police would not be able to find any evidence linking him to Stacy’s disappearance, he made the most of his celebrity status, enabled by a local media that exploited the entertainment value he supplied, and an attorney (Joel Brodsky) who seemed to enjoy the limelight just as much as his client did. Peterson became a regular guest on local radio shows, and by January, Peterson and Brodsky convinced one show to sponsor a “Win a Valentine’s Day Date With Drew” contest (“I turn heads,” Peterson boasted).
Peterson’s situation took a turn for the worse in February, as a second autopsy on his third wife, Kathleen Savio, who drowned in a bathtub in 2004, indicated that she had in fact been murdered, and the murder covered up to look like an accidental drowning.
Peterson’s arrest for Savio’s murder has apparently not dampened his spirits (“I guess I should have returned those library books,” he joked as he was being taken away): as he awaits trial, he continues to seek out media attention, and in 2008 entered into a brief engagement to a woman who (rather foolishly, many would say) would have become his fifth wife.
Related article: A Preponderance of Implication: What happens when you absolutely know the suspect is guilty, but…