"The boys, my nephews, it's got to be horrible psychologically on these kids," says Anna Doman of her relatives Tommy, 16 and Kris,15. "They had a very doting mother in my sister, Kathleen. When she died, they took it tough, and then they got a new mom [Stacy Peterson], they got a whole new life, and then she's gone. Now the father is being accused of killing the mother. What does that do to a poor kid's head?"
Anna says she has not seen the boys for five years. "I love them like they're my own. When [Kathleen] died, it was like I died," she continues, wiping away tears. "These are her kids, and I knew this monster had them. I just want to see him punished for what he did, for murdering my sister and ruining the lives of his kids."
Anna and her attorney, John Q. Kelly, join Dr. Phil onstage.
Addressing Anna, Dr. Phil says, "You're concerned about these children. You're concerned about what's going to happen to them and what they are being exposed to now. True?"
"Absolutely. These kids are going through enough trauma losing one parent, especially their mom. That's tough. They were very close. Then they get another mom. They get Stacy, who from what I've heard, was a great mom," Anna answers. "She's gone. Then their father is accused of killing their mother. These poor kids. They're having their whole lives ripped out from under them."
"Why haven't you seen these children in five years?" Dr. Phil inquires.
[AD]"Drew makes it so extremely uncomfortable. First of all, I can't stand looking at the guy. Every time I look at him, my blood pressure goes up to my head," she replies, raising her hands.
"So you have to go over there and sit in a room with a man who you believe murdered your sister," Dr. Phil sympathizes.
"[Drew] has to listen to everything we say. We can't whisper," she replies. "We can't take the kids anywhere. I just couldn't do it. It was just too hard on me. I took my sister's death so hard, and to have to sit there and be under his thumb, and be guided on what I can say, what I can't say, what the kids can say."
Dr. Phil notes that Drew's sons with Kathleen, Tommy and Kris, were adopted by Stacy. He turns to John. "Once they're adopted, does this family line [the Savios], this branch of the family tree, have any right to those children?" he asks.
"Blood is thicker than water. Anna was the older son, Thomas', godmother. She was there more than Drew for most events," the attorney replies. "The right is now with the estate, Kathleen's estate. This is what Anna did: I was brought in, a new estate was formed that represents the two children and that's where the legal rights are right now, Kathleen's estate."
"You promised your sister that if anything happened to her that you would take care of those children," Dr. Phil reminds Anna.
"That's why I'm here. I have traveled every venue I possibly could. I had many brick walls, but I'm going to keep going, and eventually, I'm going to get through," Anna says. [AD]
"Tell us again why you were having this conversation with your sister that if anything happened to her, you would take care of the children," Dr. Phil prompts her.
"She came over to my house one Saturday, middle of January 2004. She was upset," Anna recalls. "â€˜If anything happens to me,' she goes, â€˜I'm not going to make it to the property settlement from the divorce. I want to make sure you're going to take care of my kids.' When somebody says that to you, you're like, â€˜Yeah, yeah. Of course, I will.'"
Anna tells Dr. Phil that her sister kept a briefcase for important documents. "We had been making journal entries and legal papers, and all kinds of stuff were in there. She goes, â€˜Anything happens to me, don't worry about jewelry, don't worry about money. Take this, and I want you to get Drew, because he's going to kill me,'" she recounts.
"What was in the briefcase?" Dr. Phil probes.
"Tons of stuff " financial stuff, legal stuff."
"This was after she had told you what he had done to her, tying her to the chair?" Dr. Phil inquires.
[AD]"I knew what was in there because I had been there with her through all of it " when he beat her up, when I took her to the hospital, with the cops coming over to the house, and letters we wrote together," she replies.
"John, will this be admissible? Can there be a custody action brought, if he goes to prison?" Dr. Phil asks. "It's about the kids, at this point, right?"
"Well, it is. Unfortunately, you have a man where you have two mothers dead and missing and four orphans right now," he replies. "Obviously, he's in jail. He's responsible for it, and there is going to be an issue of what is in the best interest of the children."