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A state appellate court has given the go-ahead for some hearsay evidence at the trial of a former suburban Chicago police officer accused of killing his third wife.

The Third District Appellate Court's ruling came Thursday. It hands a major legal defeat to defense attorneys for Drew Peterson.

The earlier rulings to exclude many second-hand statements had raised fresh questions about the viability of trying Peterson on charges he killed Kathleen Savio in 2004.

The jailed Peterson was charged only after his fourth wife, Stacy Peterson, disappeared in 2007 and Savio's body was exhumed. Prosecutors have presented no physical evidence or eyewitnesses and have said the hearsay statements are vital.

State attorney's office spokesman Charles Pelkie says a trial is expected later this spring or early summer.

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