By KELLY WHEELER
City News Service
A biotech executive accused of wounding his estranged wife's brother and a former business partner in separate shootings in La Jolla earlier this month pleaded not guilty Monday to premeditated attempted murder and other charges.
Hans Petersen, 49, was ordered held on $5 million bail.
Deputy District Attorney Amy Maund alleged Petersen had two intended “targets” on Sept. 18.
About 3 that morning, Petersen fired his gun into the master bedroom of 53-year-old Steven Dowdy, a UCSD researcher and former business associate, Maund alleged.
Dowdy and his wife were sleeping when Petersen allegedly started firing.
“But for a dresser-table, the husband would have died,” Maund said, adding that four shots hit the dresser-table. “When the husband got out of bed, he was shot (in the lower back).”
About four hours later, Petersen allegedly broke into a home on Cottontail Lane and shot randomly until he found his second “intended target,” 43-year-old Ronald Fletcher, the brother of Petersen’s estranged wife, according to Maund. Attorneys said Petersen and Dowdy are going through a divorce.
Fletcher was shot in the stomach but was able to disarm the defendant, Maund said.
Maund unsuccessfully asked Judge David Szumowski to set Petersen’s bail at $6 million, arguing the defendant has ties out of state and his victims fear for their safety.
Police said the relationship between Petersen and Dowdy began to sour when Petersen lost his job and blamed Dowdy, and the suspect allegedly targeted Fletcher because of the role he played in his sister’s separation from Petersen.
According to Petersen’s online resume, he is CEO of Bays Four Corp., a genome data-analysis firm headquartered in La Jolla.
Defense attorney Marc Carlos told reporters that Petersen is a “pillar of the community” with no prior record, and was valedictorian of his business class at the University of San Diego.
“He is otherwise somebody who’s a tax-paying, productive member of the community, and all of a sudden, we have this happening,” Carlos said. “So there’s something going on and we need to get to the bottom of it.”
Carlos said a psychological evaluation of the defendant is likely.
In addition to three counts of premeditated attempted murder and gun allegations, Petersen is charged with shooting at an inhabited dwelling and first-degree burglary. He faces up to 96 years to life in prison if convicted, Maund said.
A readiness conference was set for Nov. 22 and a preliminary hearing for Dec. 18.