Drew Peterson: Psychologically ready to be arrested

The Chicago Tribune

CHICAGO — Before appearing on NBC's "Today" show Thursday, Drew Peterson had a conversation with his recently hired publicist: Maybe it was time for the public to see another side of Drew.

"He's a nice guy. He's a normal guy, and that's what people needed to see. I wasn't creating someone that he wasn't. I just want people to see another side of him," said publicist Glenn Selig. "I think it has begun."

Peterson, 54, appeared on the "Today" set bearded and more subdued than the brash guest seen on past shows.

The former Bolingbrook police sergeant spoke of his shock at the recent autopsy results stating his third wife's death was considered a homicide. Authorities have named him as the suspect in the Oct. 28 disappearance of his current wife, Stacy, but he maintained that he believes she left him for another man. He said he was psychologically "prepared" to be arrested, and even ready to serve a long prison term.

But he also talked about his children, answering questions from host Matt Lauer with comments such as, "My main concern about anything is my children."

Rather than firing off more quips about his wives' moodiness, he sidestepped questions, saying he couldn't or didn't know how to respond to questions about suspicions of guilt. He sometimes looked at his attorney, Joel Brodsky, for help.

"To me he seemed very sincere. He seemed like Drew," Selig said.

But an image makeover for Peterson could be a challenge, experts say. For four months, the public has been witness to Peterson's audacious humor, such as his suggestion to a radio talk-show host to hold a "Win a Date with Drew" contest and offhand jokes about women and his admirers.

Peterson's supporters insist there is more to the man than meets the public eye.

"He needs to have a conversation that is just a casual conversation where he's sitting on the couch where he can ramble about his relationships," said his friend Steve Carcerano.

But even Carcerano acknowledged Peterson could have his work cut out for him changing public perception.

"He shouldn't have gone on TV looking so scruffy because of what the public could interpret," Carcerano said.

The Web site findstacypeterson.com was abuzz about Peterson's new look, with one topic thread titled, "Is it just me or does Drew look even worse than before??"

"He has such a loud presence that it's going to be a challenge for people to see him differently," said Kali Evans-Raoul, founder and president of The Image Studios, a Chicago-based consulting firm that specializes in image communication.

Copyright 2008 The Chicago Tribune

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