UPDATE: Jury finds Thomas Petersen guilty of first degree murder - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

UPDATE: Jury finds Thomas Petersen guilty of first degree murder


After 45 minutes of deliberations, a jury found Thomas Petersen guilty of first degree murder Monday.

His sentencing will be on June 4th, the anniversary of Renee Petersen's murder.

Petersen was convicted of first degree murder in the death of his wife Renee. The defense did not deny Petersen's involvement in the murder, but they say he was drunk at the time and he did not intend to cause her death.

Thomas Petersen took the stand  in his own defense shortly after 9:00 a.m. Monday morning. Petersen says he has a history of alcohol abuse which has caused him to pass out and black out in the past. Petersen admits to also taking two prescription medications. One of the medications was for high blood pressure and the other for pain relief. He was told by doctors not to mix the pain relief medication with alcohol.

Petersen also testified that he had planned on killing himself sometime in July of last year. He had taken steps to purchase a hand gun.

On June 4th of last year Petersen admits to drinking more than 18 beers that day while running errands. When he returned home he got into a verbal altercation with his step son Cody. When Thomas Petersen asked his wife Renee how she was going to discipline Cody, Petersen said that Renee threatened to cut off one of his body parts and also told him to pack up his stuff and leave the house.

Petersen testified that the verbal argument escalated into a fight where they were hitting one another. Petersen admits to stabbing at Renee, but he doesn't remember many specific details. When Petersen came to and saw the bloody scene, he said that his first reaction was to get his two year old son Jacob to a safe place.

 "I looked down on her and I see this terrible horrible scene. She's laying there and she's covered in blood. The only thing I can think is, where is Jake," said Petersen.

Petersen was eventually arrested in South Dakota. His son Jacob was found safe.


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