'He's going to kill me'; 4th woman testifies that Greg Peterson assaulted, raped her

Published: Wednesday, Aug. 15 2012 2:00 p.m. MDT

At one point, the woman laughed sadly at herself through her tears as she described seeing lights out the window and hoping they were from the sheriff. In reality, it was just a snowplow.

Eventually, after repeated requests, he agreed to take her home. The woman said she reported what happened to officials in Wasatch County that day.

Defense attorneys questioned whether she ever told Peterson to stop or if she sought help.

"I don't recall ever using the word 'no,'" she said. "I remember being incredibly scared. He told me he was a fast runner, that he had a lot of guns that he always carried with him. … I did everything he asked so he wouldn't hit me."

Defense attorneys also asked whether the woman had ever been raped before. She indicated that she had been raped by two ex-husbands and someone she knew in high school.

"She's accused three other people of rape," defense attorney Cara Tangaro told the judge. "There may be an issue of her articulating what she wants and what she doesn't want. That's very unusual to be raped four separate times."

"She's either the most unlucky person I've ever met or something's going on there," Tangaro said after the hearing.

Earlier Wednesday, another woman testified she was a victim of Peterson and was cross-examined by defense attorneys. That woman said she met Peterson on Facebook and she, too, was taken to the cabin in Heber where she was sexually abused. She said Peterson tried to "brainwash" her after the three days she spent with him and told her he had done nothing wrong.

When asked why she never tried to get help, either by calling on the phone or asking those around her, she said she was afraid of Peterson's threats of violence and deportation.

"I remember having the thoughts of Elizabeth Smart," she said. "Why didn't she run? Why didn't she communicate with anyone? I now understand. … The threats. He knew where I lived, he knew my family. … I was frozen to do anything."

That woman, who said she spent two nights at the home of Peterson's mother, was the subject of testimony from two defense witnesses. Both Luis Capunay, who was hired to do work at the cabin, and Peterson's mother, Jean Peterson, took the stand Wednesday and said they both spent time with Peterson and his date but never noticed her in distress.

Capunay said the woman later told him about allegations of abuse, but he said he did not want to get involved.

The two witnesses were not part of any defense strategy. Attorneys said they wanted to preserve their court testimonies in case they aren't available for the trial. During preliminary hearings, a judge determines whether enough evidence is presented to show "probable cause" that crimes occurred. Defendants typically do not present full defenses.

Peterson did not take the stand at the advice of his attorneys, but did cry when his mother was asked whether she loved her son, whether it was difficult to be in court and whether she would lie for him.

Peterson was ordered to stand trial on 25 separate charges, including two counts of rape, eight counts of object rape, two counts of aggravated kidnapping, nine counts of forcible sexual abuse, forcible sodomy, assault, burglary and sexual battery involving four women. One of those charges was changed from rape to object rape.

Peterson's attorneys said their client has done nothing illegal. He either had consensual sexual contact with the women or no physical contact at all, which they said is the case with one of the women who testified.

"There's one witness who we're saying her story is completely fabricated," Tangaro said, though she did not specify which woman.

An arraignment hearing is set for Aug. 24. Tangaro said she intends to take the case to trial.

"There's a lot of information that's not making it out to the public," she said. "There are a ton of witnesses who will be coming forward and will be disputing what these women are saying."

A new charge was filed against Peterson Monday. The Wasatch County Attorney's Office charged him with forcible sex abuse, a second-degree felony. He will have an initial appearance on that charge Aug. 29.

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