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Man Accused of Shooting Estranged Wife's Brother and Former Business Partner Heading to Court

Hans Petersen, 49, is charged with three counts of premeditated attempted murder, shooting at an inhabited dwelling and first-degree burglary. He faces up to 96 years to life in prison if convicted.

Patch file photo.
Patch file photo.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled Monday for a biotech executive accused of wounding his estranged wife's brother and a former business partner in separate shootings in La Jolla last year.

Hans Petersen, 49, is charged with three counts of premeditated attempted murder, shooting at an inhabited dwelling and first-degree burglary. He faces up to 96 years to life in prison if convicted, according to Deputy District Attorney Amy Maund.

At Petersen's arraignment last year, Maund said the defendant 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.

Fletcher was shot in the stomach but was able to disarm the defendant, Maund said.

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.

After today's preliminary hearing, Judge Leo Valentine Jr. will decide if enough evidence was presented for Petersen to stand trial.

—City News Service

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