Peterson was convicted of Savio's 2004 murder on September 6, 2012.
Judge Edward Burmila could have sentenced Peterson to 60 years for his two convictions of first-degree murder, but took into account Peterson's military service and his many years as a decorated police officer, he said.
Peterson Makes Statement to Court
The sentencing came after Peterson made a lengthy, emotional appeal to Judge Burmila in which he blamed his conviction on "rumors, gossip, outrageous lies and, most importantly, unreliable hearsay."
Peterson began by telling the judge, "Good day, my name is Drew Peterson. I hope I don't aggravate the situation here, but I have a lot of things to be said." Then he screamed, "I did not kill Kathleen!"
A woman sitting in the gallery interrupted Peterson by saying, "Yes, you did!" Judge Burmila had the woman removed from the courtroom and warned Peterson against any further outbursts.
'A Shrill, Feminine Screech'
After the hearing ended, State's Attorney James Glasgow, who Peterson addressed directly in his statement, called Peterson's outburst a "shrill, kind of feminine screech."
Glasgow had urged the judge to give Peterson the maximum sentence, saying that he had used his position as a police officer to make his victims too frightened to call the police for help.
Before Peterson's statement, the court heard victim impact statements from members of Savio's family. Her sister, Anna Marie Savio-Doman, told the judge of her deep loss.
Horror and Betrayal
"One of the hardest things for me is knowing the pain and fear that Kathleen must have suffered at the time of her murder," she said. "The horror and betrayal she must have felt when she realized that someone she had trusted and loved more than anything was actually killing her. I wonder if she could feel her heart breaking when she thought about leaving her two boys forever. The helplessness she must have felt knowing she was going to die."
Other family members pointed out that Peterson has yet to show any remorse.
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