Petersen, 49, of University City, was ordered to stand trial for three counts of attempted murder, which also includes shots fired through a window that missed Lisa Dowdy. Petersen was also ordered to trial for burglary and shooting at an inhabited structure on Waverly Avenue.
A new charge of brandishing a firearm in a threatening manner was added because of testimony from Dr. Mike Nielsen who said he was driving home from work at 5 a.m. and saw a man on Ravenswood Road in La Jolla lurking behind trees. Nielsen said he turned around and shined his headlights on the figure.
The man stepped out and pointed a gun at Nielsen, which prompted Nielsen to hit the gas and quickly leave. Nielsen said he later called 911 and told police what he saw.
San Diego Superior Court Judge Leo Valentine, Jr. said there was sufficient evidence shown to add the firearm-threat charge to the other charges and ordered a trial for Petersen. The defendant, a former biotech executive, pleaded not guilty to all charges at the end of the preliminary hearing.
A trial date was set for Sept. 15 and Petersen waived his right to have a speedy trial. Petersen remains in jail on $5 million bail.
Petersen had two vodka drinks and two glasses of wine from 10 p.m. to midnight before the shooting, according to Jeanne Henry, a clinical psychologist in La Jolla, with whom Petersen was living at the time. She said he was intoxicated.
Dowdy, a cancer researcher and biologist, had done business with Petersen, but it reportedly ended badly. Dowdy was shot first around 3 a.m. through his bedroom window. Four bullets were lodged in a dresser, and Dowdy was wounded in his lower back.
“When the bullets stopped firing and I was concerned that he was trying to reload, that’s when I opened the curtains to look and see a little bit,” said Dowdy. “I realized then this is not merely a robbery but this is someone trying to assassinate me.”
Fletcher is a Mission Beach real-estate agent and Petersen’s brother-in-law, although his sister is in the process of divorcing Petersen after 12 years of marriage.
Fletcher said he was taking a shower around 6:30 a.m. and heard a crash and knocking on the bathroom door. His two daughters were home, and Fletcher said he was puzzled. He was stunned to see Petersen with a gun when he opened the door.
Fletcher said he closed and locked the door, and he heard Petersen say, “I’m going to (expletive) kill you!” Fletcher said Petersen shot through the bathroom door, narrowly missing him and Petersen demanded he open his safe.
“I was not going to reason with him. He looked so angry,” said Fletcher. “I reopened the door and grabbed the gun with my left hand.”
“When I grabbed the gun, he fired and he shot me in the stomach. I was in shock. I was fighting for my life,” said Fletcher, who said he was able to wrestle the gun out of Petersen’s hand. “I had the gun and I pointed it and him and tried to shoot him.”
Fletcher said the gun jammed at that point, and he grabbed a cell phone and called 911. He said he yelled for his daughters to also call 911. Petersen grabbed the phone and tried to smash it, Fletcher said.
Deputy District Attorney Amy Maund played footage of Fletcher’s home security camera system, which showed a man identified as Petersen breaking a glass door with an object at 6:38 a.m. and walking through the door of the Cottontail Lane home.
“He was screaming things at me. It was gibberish. I don’t know what he was talking about. He was cursing at me,” said Fletcher. “I was in extreme pain.”
On the video, Petersen was seen ranting and pointing his index finger at Fletcher as he sat on his couch with the jammed gun. The video then showed two San Diego police officers ordering Petersen to put his hands in the air, and Fletcher threw the gun on the floor.
Fletcher told the judge Petersen had visited him at his Mission Beach office and Petersen was angry. He said both he and his sister felt threatened.
Henry testified she met Petersen at a party and he has lived with her for the past 8 ½ months. She testified she did not hear Petersen make any threats, but said he was depressed.
Henry said Petersen was up late that night answering emails on his computer and appeared agitated. Henry said she went to bed and noticed at 3:55 a.m. that he left and that his blue BMW was gone. She said she has since visited him in jail.
Timothy Ellis of La Jolla testified he heard a gunshot and “angry yelling” outside his window that woke him up. He looked outside and identified Petersen with what he said looked like either a gun or a drill in his hand. Ellis said Petersen asked for Fletcher, but Ellis told him Fletcher didn’t live there.
Petersen has no prior record and previously served as CEO of several firms in the past. If he is convicted of all charges, he faces three life terms in prison.