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Greg Peterson bail bondsman: 'It's not the ending we wanted'

Published: Wednesday, Oct. 24 2012 6:25 p.m. MDT

Wasatch County Attorney Scott Sweat talks during a press conference about Greg Peterson , who was a GOP activist charged with raping or abusing several women, who was found dead in his home east of Heber City Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2012 from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.

Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

HEBER CITY — The two bail bondsmen who found the body of Gregory Nathan Peterson Tuesday called the man's apparent suicide "a tragic situation."

"I feel sorry for his family," said Steve Brown, co-owner of All Out Bail Bonds of Utah, which posted Peterson's $2 million bail Friday. "We feel horrible about it. It's not the ending we wanted. It's not the way we wanted things to go."

Brown and co-owner Brian Cogburn found Peterson's body at the man's cabin at 10160 E. Ridge Pines Drive about 5 p.m. Tuesday. They had gone there to recharge the ankle monitor they required Peterson to wear as a condition of them posting the money.

Prosecutors and law enforcement officers said Tuesday that Peterson died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. His death came just four days after he posted $2 million bail, following three months in the Salt Lake County Jail. An autopsy was conducted Wednesday.

"It's horrible for anybody to have to go through this," Cogburn said.

Peterson, 37, was waiting to be tried on multiple charges of raping and assaulting women he met online or at LDS Church functions. On Tuesday, prior to the discovery of Peterson's body, the Wasatch County Attorney's Office filed a motion for a bail hearing on its case in 4th District Court.

"The defendant has filed a security in the Salt Lake County matters and is on release with no security in this matter," the state wrote in court documents. "The state therefore respectfully requests a bail hearing."

But the hearing will no longer be held as the cases against Peterson soon will be closed and those he came in contact with are left to draw their own conclusions about his life and actions.

Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill and Wasatch County Attorney Scott Sweat both have indicated they plan to file motions to dismiss their cases and officially bring the criminal prosecution of Peterson to an end.

Making bail

The majority of bail bonding companies require clients to pay 10 percent of their bail before they will put up the rest of the bond money.

Brown would not comment specifically on the conditions of Peterson's release, including how much money Peterson put down or where his money may have come from. He said the information was confidential and it was inappropriate to talk about personal information of a client.

In July, Peterson filed a declaration of indigency with 3rd District Court. Such declarations typically are filed when a client has a lack of income or inability to pay for an attorney. Peterson, however, retained his own attorneys.

On his indigency declaration, he declined to provide information about his income. On the sheet, Peterson was asked to mark "yes" or "no" as to whether he had assets over $10,000. He marked "no."

All Out Bail Bonds' website states the company charges clients 10 percent of the bond. The company then puts up the rest of the money. A judge will hold the bail amount until the case is closed.

After the client has returned to court and an outcome in the case been determined, the bail bond company gets its money back. If the client fails to show up for court, however, they forfeit the money until such time that the client returns to court.

In the case of suicide, Salt Lake County Jail Sgt. Cammie Skogg said, she believes the criminal case is considered closed.

It's typical in cases with high bail that a bond company require some sort of collateral from the person wishing to bail out, Skogg said, though she did not know if that was the case with Peterson.

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