NEWS

Peterson denies incriminating private conversations were recorded

Danya Hooker

Two of Drew Peterson’s close friends wore wiretaps and recorded every detail of private conversations between them and the former Bolingbrook police sergeant who is the prime suspect in the disappearance of his fourth wife, according to media reports.

Drew Peterson’s neighbor Sharon Bychowski said Lenny Wawczak and Paula Stark contacted her before going public about the secret wiretapping. They told her “their heart was in the right place” and asked for Find Stacy Peterson T-shirts and yard signs. The couple is staying at another location to ensure their safety, Bychowski said.

Illinois State Police Sgt. Tom Burek declined to comment on the allegations, but Peterson’s publicist, Glenn Selig, issued a statement from Joel A. Brodsky, criminal defense attorney for Peterson.

“The obvious questions are why would Paula Stark and Len Wawczak be sharing their story with the media? And if they were acting on behalf of authorities, would the police allow these supposed undercover agents to reveal anything Drew said which would incriminate him?”

The statement suggested Wawczak and Stark would have been arrested for obstruction of justice if they were wiretapping Peterson. The statement then alleged that  Wawczak and Stark had asked to borrow money from Peterson, and that he refused.

In the months after Stacy Peterson’s disappearance, Stark and Wawczak appeared to remain close to Drew Peterson. The couple often watched Peterson’s four youngest children, and in March, Wawczak accompanied Peterson to Illinois State Police District 5 headquarters to help Peterson retrieve two vehicles seized by police. The couple reportedly said they agreed to cooperate with Illinois State Police shortly after Stacy Peterson disappeared Oct. 28.

Drew Peterson’s third wife, Kathleen Savio, was found drowned in a dry bathtub in March 2004. At the time, her death was ruled an accident. But the Oct. 28 disappearance of Peterson’s fourth wife led investigators to reopen the case. Savio’s body was exhumed in November and two pathologists, one at the request of Savio’s family and one on behalf of the state, performed separate autopsies. Both recently ruled her death a homicide.

Peterson is the sole suspect in Stacy’s disappearance, which police are calling a “potential homicide.” Police have not named a suspect in Savio’s death.

My Suburban Life reporter Danya Hooker may be reached at dhooker@mysuburbanlife.com