Justice Cafe, a blog following the Drew Peterson case, has posted the transcript of Peterson’s speech to the court yesterday: http://petersonstory.wordpress.com/2013/02/22/i-did-not-kill-kathleen-read-drew-petersons-full-courtroom-speech/.
If you’re used to being victimized by, interacting with, or studying narcissists and sociopaths, this impassioned declaration of innocence will be transparent to you. What is the most universal behavior of sociopaths (thank you Martha Stout)? They appeal to our sympathy. You will also recognize an intense level of projecting– a way of avoiding personal responsibility by blaming others for what you have actually done. Do this often enough and you start to believe your own lies.
While reading through this I grabbed some passages that interest me. The underlying theme through this whole document is, “it’s everyone else’s fault.”
1. It’s Neil Schori’s fault. Peterson talked about how Schori was going to be his and fourth wife Stacy’s marriage counselor and that Schori should therefore keep everything confidential. He blames Schori of betraying this confidence and lying because he came forward with information crucial to Stacy’s disappearance.
Stacy had confided in him on her own, not just as a couple, and related how terrified she was of Drew’s behavior. She also believed that Drew killed his third wife. And Schori is supposed to stay silent about this when a mother of two is missing and probably dead?
Later he claims that Stacy had a crush on Schori, once again displaying the insecurity that he expressed as abusive behavior. From what I know he was intensely jealous of other men and would accuse his wives of cheating when they were not. By the way, he was the one who, in his own previous words, was addicted to the “honeymoon stage” of relationships and did cheat.
2. It’s Harry Smith’s fault. Peterson says Harry Smith “gave up information, privileged information, from both Stacy and Kathy like it was yesterday’s garbage. All that information between Harry Smith and Neil Schori was what ultimately led to my conviction.” From there he launches into a discussion of hearsay, which constitutionally speaking is a legitimate topic, but infused with Peterson projecting his own sins onto those who dared speak up on behalf of dead or missing women.
In true domestic abuser narcissist fashion, he doesn’t believe that anyone should have talked about what really went on in his life or relationships. He feels entitled to privacy despite the death of one wife and another being missing and presumed dead. His sense of self is so grandiose and important that he thinks he should be “above” any of those pesky, talkative little people with knowledge of his personal life. He also believes that Harry Smith is responsible for lies he says his children told.
3. It’s my wives’ fault. “We have to look at statements that were made that convicted me were all statements made by women who were trying to better position themselves in a divorce or as testified trying to extort money out of a divorce… Divorce statements in and of themselves should be under suspicious and cause for a doubt.” Obviously he meant under suspicion.
Hold on here, Drew. So these women were setting you up? Women who you mistreated and were afraid of you to the point that they worried about being murdered were just out for your money and assets? Wouldn’t that keep them tied to you longer? Also, such generalizations about women display a bitterness for his four wives and any other women who wanted to get away from his demons and his abuse. Misogyny is not a smart move when you’re facing sentencing for a murder.
4. It’s Stacy’s fault. I would have liked to observe his nonverbals when he spoke about this especially. Peterson ranted, “Seemed like Stacy was lying all the time about everything, but the State’s Attorney picks and chooses…” This is a good time to disparage your missing fourth wife? I thought that what Schori and others related that Stacy said was just hearsay. Plus, you not only paint Stacy as a liar, but as such a persuasive and pathological liar that she convinced the State Attorney’s office to lie too?
Is portraying Stacy, the much younger woman you seduced while still with your third wife, a preemptive strike on any case brought against you in Stacy’s disappearance? Do you care how such a statement affects your children with her? Clearly what Stacy told people about you bothers you deeply and you feel that you have to turn the tables and make her the one who’s not told the truth.
5. My service in the military and on the police force gives me great credibility. People in America are beginning to realize the extent of domestic violence in police families, how difficult it is for victims to escape abusers who may have the privilege of being above the law, and how agencies and unions often protect officers who are unfit for duty.
This isn’t a secret anymore. The fact that officers sworn to uphold the law but have committed violence against their family members have been allowed to retain their jobs in spite of that has done heavy damage to the public’s trust in the police. It is a terrible hypocrisy. This is not only unfortunate, but it endangers the safety of officers in general, including those who do faithfully uphold their oath. It’s also increasingly difficult to believe that cops who are immoral in their personal lives are squeaky clean on the job.
Agency administrators are going to have to start holding their officers and employees to the same standards as the public if they want to gain that respect back. They are entrusting the safety of the general public– including that of other domestic violence and sexual assault victims– to the same type of personalities and criminals that they are investigating and arresting. This is the single biggest ethical problem in policing but is often glossed over or conveniently ignored.
Returning to Peterson’s statement, he portrays himself as one of the most decorated officers in his department with no mention of any allegations of wrongdoing. He said, “I loved having a job which allowed me to help people.” What did we expect him to say– “I loved having a job that allowed me such power and control I could hide behind it to hurt, threaten, and even kill my wives?” Even if he did like helping people, he’s become the poster child for a cop who’s high on power and control.
6. It’s Kathy’s fault. “I love Kathy. She was a good mom. She kept a nice home. She did not deserve to die, but she had an accident, but she was so emotionally and psychologically damaged by some of these same people Mr. Glasgow paraded in front of you today that made it impossible for her to keep and maintain any kind of long-term relationship.”
Look more closely at what he’s saying. He can’t leave it at, “I love/loved Kathy, she was a good mom, she kept a nice home.” What he’s saying is, “Kathy had some good traits, but…” He has to qualify whatever degree of goodness he metes out; it’s the nature of this type of person. He can’t say something good without turning right back around and saying that she was damaged. In this case, he took a detailed look at her past through his eyes and the alleged abuse of her by family members.
Experts know that past abuse can condition a woman to gravitate towards the same type of partner that will hurt her. Many women will know what I’m talking about. As a child and teen you were so used to being put down, harassed, told you’re unworthy, rejected, and hurt that when a guy does it to you, it doesn’t even faze you. You’re used to it. There’s some sick subconscious draw to it. And it’s not as bad as when you’re family members did it (in your mind) because he’s not those family members and you haven’t been around him as long.
I fail to see how any abuse of Kathy committed by others (if that’s even true) damages her credibility or character here. Yes, those who have suffered abuse can develop personality disorders, substance abuse problems, and other issues. But so can a lot of people for a lot of reasons. It does not make them liars or gold diggers or undeserving of love or respect. It can make them more vulnerable to predators like Peterson, who in the beginning promise a life of passion and excitement, security, or domestic bliss.
I don’t know if any of the above even remotely apply to Kathleen Savio and if they did, that does nothing to change my view of this case. Most of what I just mentioned is not the victim’s fault. Many people who have experienced abuse either are or develop into exceptional human beings who have a gigantic heart for others and for stopping abuse. Also, strong, successful women are prime targets for sociopaths who crave whole, happy people to fill the bottomless pits in their own souls. They are a fuel source for predators, a commodity to be used at one’s leisure and disposed of when no longer compliant or useful.
His use of words in regard to how Kathleen died– “she had an accident”– is noteworthy. In context, he says this as if Kathleen’s death was her own fault. The word “had” stands out, and what does deserving have to do with an alleged accident? He says, “she did not deserve to die, but…” There’s that “but” again. It’s like saying, “I wasn’t always planning on killing her, but she pushed me too far,” as if Kathleen is responsible for this “twist of fate.”
He adds another but, “but she was damaged.” This comes across as “she made me do it,” which is how many domestic abusers justify their own actions. They’re their own gods; they’re the law. How dare a woman defy their “authority,” especially when they believe that God or the state has imbued them with the power to punish others.
How dare she want to leave him or stop his abuse. This is an affront to an abuser’s pride and sense of superiority. You’re heard me say it before when discussing why the risk of homicide goes up 75 percent when you leave an abusive relationship– they don’t want you, but they still want control over you. Some will do anything to keep it.
7. It’s Kathy’s sister’s fault. He claims that Kathleen’s sister ruined his life (along with a lot of other people) and was behind the exhumation of her body after Stacy disappeared. Kathleen’s sister should be commended for her strong stance and for what she’s done. Without her fortitude Peterson could still be free to harm and murder other women. No wonder he doesn’t like her. He also goes into a disgusting tirade about what was “done” to Kathleen’s body, as if it were a violation rather than a necessary step towards the truth.
8. It’s NOT Steve’s fault. Steve is the son who stood by him. Steve was also a cop. Peterson claims that Steve lost his job unfairly and has faced illegal charges. Steve, according to Peterson, is also a victim. It should be noted that Steve might know a lot about what happened to Stacy. Interestingly, authorities claimed that he was given $236,000 and three weapons by his father just after Stacy disappeared on October 28th, 2007 but didn’t initially disclose that.
Steve is, by the way, raising Kathleen’s two children and Stacy’s two children.
9. It’s all their fault. In this section he basically says that “These people have wrecked my life… I don’t do well in prison… They are responsible for my health problems.” Talk about projecting– wow. It hits fever pitch here. He’s the real victim here, don’t you know– that’s what he wants you to believe. He didn’t do this, right? He has no responsibility for this. This has been done to him, by wicked, dishonest, abusive, vindictive, untrustworthy people who made him a target and are hanging him out to dry. This is classic dark soul rhetoric.
“I am not looking for any sympathy,” he said. That’s another telltale sign designed to convince onlookers that despite a whole speech in which he portrays himself as the real victim and showcases his contempt for his former wives, the system, and anyone who dared speak the truth, he isn’t out for sympathy. With a swift movement of his hand our memories are erased and we repeat after him, “he does not… want… sympathy.” I don’t think so.
But he takes this further. Now we are expected to be terribly concerned about his own mortality. He tells the court, “you’re sentencing me to death.” Peterson says that nine family members have died since he’s been incarcerated and that few of his cousins have made it to their mid-60s. This should affect his sentencing how? Should it be reduced or avoided altogether so that we can be sure he lives free for awhile longer?
“…and I hope Mr. Glasgow looks me in the eye right now; never forget my face; never forget what you have done here.” Listen to that, please– what you have done here. Again, this has been done to him. He is the victim. We are missing the whole truth behind the investigations into one wife’s death and the other’s disappearance– more than anyone else, he’s the victim. He’s the only real victim. We’ve got the wrong guy.
“Originally, I had some cute and funny things to end with but in closing now it’s time to sentence an innocent man to a life of hardship and abuse of prison, and I don’t deserve this. I don’t deserve this. Thank you.” The coward comes out. I’ve always maintained that abusers are cowards. They act like vicious tyrants to whom everyone else should bow and who lust after the rush of controlling and terrorizing others. But when their own freedom, safety, or mortality is threatened, they show their true colors.
Know these tactics. Women especially need to see these manipulation tactics for what they are and steer clear of men who practice them. I’m a graduate of the school of hard knocks and I write from experience. Over and over again I’ve seen women– in the past, myself– fall prey to sociopaths and narcissists who talk a smooth game but harbor some of the most pronounced qualities of the devil himself.
There is one other point Peterson made that I’d like to address. He said that Stacy gave him an alibi for the time of Kathleen’s murder but later recanted. When you’re facing someone who can and might kill you, you say what you have to say to minimize the conflict and stay alive. You might also be speaking out of blind loyalty or love, the kind that persists until you start realizing who you actually married.
Sometimes, even when it dawns on you that you’re not partnered with or married to the person you thought you were, you’re functioning from a place of brainwashing, confusion, fatigue, depression caused by the abuse, health problems, or all of the above. You’ve been conditioned to make excuses for and cover for the person who screams that they’ll kill you one minute and buys you a nice gift the next. You’re not thinking straight because your abuser has to keep you off balance to maintain control. If you’re thinking straight you’ll make a safety plan and try to make a safe exit.
Domestic violence charges in particular are often dropped when the victim changes their statement or refuses to testify. When I see people saying, “oh look, so-and-so isn’t going forward with their allegations,” it doesn’t mean that they’re lying. It doesn’t mean that it can’t be proven. It can mean that the abuser has set them off balance again, causing them to question if they might be able to “work things out” or not. It can mean that the victim is afraid. It can mean that they don’t know how they’ll survive financially if they leave the relationship. There are a number of reasons and many are a direct result of the mind games and mistreatment they’re being put through.
This is why it’s also important not to misinterpret a victim’s behavior when they’re still in the relationship. People might notice that they’re withdrawn, tired, having trouble focusing, depressed, anxious, ill or feigning illness, or generally acting strange. When your life is in danger, you can’t usually walk up to a friend or family member and say, “he wants to kill me” and expect it not to get back to them. That just puts the victim in further danger. Know that there are real and terrible symptoms of domestic violence and a victim may express their fear and discomfort in a number of indirect ways.
Ultimately, Peterson was sentenced to 38 years in prison, 38 more than he felt he should get. He screamed at his sentencing– in some accounts, “exploded.” We haven’t seen the end of this, though. There will be appeals and more drama with lawyers disowning him and such, and hopefully prosecutors will be able to successfully conduct a no body homicide case on Stacy’s behalf. It can be done, and I hope that Kathleen and Stacy’s children will be situated with their mothers’ families before it does.
Men and women, if you find yourself in a relationship in which your partner can’t take responsibility for their own actions, they are Jekyll and Hyde, they claim everything is everyone else’s fault, and/or they are suspected in the abuse, disappearance, or death of previous partners– think about what’s actually happening.
Narcissists and sociopaths frequently escalate their behavior, and no matter how cunning they think they are, their past is eventually going to catch up to them. Someday they will be seen for who and what they really are, and by then I hope you are safe and secure and out of their reach. Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light, but even Satan can’t keep the facade up forever.
…you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. -Matthew 23:27
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