Jury sees surveillance video in La Jolla double shooting
Published - 03/06/15 - 07:23 AM | 3819 views | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The jury in the Hans Petersen attempted murder trial March 5 saw a security camera video of Petersen repeatedly lunging at Ronald Fletcher shortly after he shot him in Fletcher’s La Jolla home in 2013.

Fletcher, 51, was wounded in the stomach and testified that Petersen, 50, fired several shots through Fletcher’s bathroom door at 6:30 a.m. on Sept. 18, 2013 after he broke inside through a glass door with a heavy rock on Cottontail Lane.

Fletcher, a real estate agent in Pacific Beach, Mission Beach and La Jolla, finished his testimony and illustrated what happened to him via the images on his silent video surveillance camera system shown in court.

“I heard the bullets shooting through the (bathroom) door. I was shot immediately as soon as I opened the door,” Fletcher said. “I was fighting him after I was shot.”

Fletcher told the six-man, six-woman jury he grabbed the gun out of Petersen’s hand and tried to fire it at him but that it jammed. He said he used the gun to try to hit Petersen with it. Fletcher grabbed a cell phone and called 911, saying, “Hans Petersen shot me.”

Petersen grabbed the cell phone, and the video showed the struggle between the two men in a family room. At one point, Fletcher sat down on a couch, with Petersen fiercely yelling at him and pointing his index finger at him repeatedly.

“He was saying the same thing over and over. I wasn’t listening. He was cussing at me,” said Fletcher, Petersen's former brother-in-law.

Mark Carlos, Petersen’s attorney, said his client was seen pointing his index finger at Fletcher 48 times and lecturing him. Three San Diego police officers then entered the home and pointed guns at both men. Fletcher dropped Petersen's gun, as ordered.

Officer Phillip Worthington testified he found a box of bullets in Petersen’s jacket along with a wrench. Worthington said Petersen smelled of alcohol and screamed profanities to them after he was handcuffed.

Fletcher’s daughters, 11 and 12 years old, were in a locked back bedroom and “were obviously shaken up,” said police detective Meryl Bernstein. One of them had called 911 after seeing Petersen break inside the home.

Bernstein was investigating the 3 a.m. shooting at the La Jolla home of Steven Dowdy, 54, when she got the call about the Fletcher shooting. Dowdy was shot in the torso and was a former neighbor to Petersen, having hired him to be CEO of a biotech company.

Deputy District Attorney Amy Maund told jurors March 4 that Petersen was “on a murder mission” to kill both men and Dowdy’s wife. Petersen was fired from the biotech company in 2010, and he allegedly blamed Fletcher for business reversals and the breakup of his marriage in 2012.

Also testifying Thursday was Michael Nielsen, who said he was driving home from work when he saw a figure around 5 a.m. on Ravenswood Road in La Jolla on Sept. 18. Nielsen said he noticed the man tried to hide behind a tree, so he made a U-turn and shined his headlights at the tree.

The man pointed a gun at him, Nielsen said, at which time Nielsen quickly drove away. Nielsen, an emergency room physician, identified Petersen in court as the armed man.

Petersen is charged with exhibiting a weapon in a threatening manner to Nielsen.

Officer Erich Bennett testified Petersen’s blue BMW was found parked on La Jolla Rancho Road, close to where Nielsen said he saw Petersen. A partial box of ammunition was found under a seat.

The trial before San Diego Superior Court Judge Leo Valentine Jr. is in recess until Monday, March 9. Petersen has pleaded not guilty and remains in jail on $5 million bail.

-- Neal Putnam

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