Developer Ryan Petetit wants to block past abuse allegations from the jury

Ryan Petetit

By KAREN VELIE

As Ryan Petetit’s domestic abuse trial nears, San Luis Obispo County prosecutors are asking the judge to allow several of his former girlfriends to testify about alleged previous incidents of assault and abuse. Petetit’s attorney is objecting to the request.

In 2015, a girlfriend of the prominent developer went to a hospital with a head injury. She then accused Petetit of smashing her head through a window and holding her in a closet against her will.

On Thanksgiving 2015, officers arrested Petetit at a family member’s home in Pismo Beach on charges of felony false imprisonment, felony battery with serious bodily injury, felony domestic violence and a misdemeanor charge of disabling a wireless device.

Petetit pleaded not guilty and the case has been moving at a snails pace through the system.

Shortly after Petetit’s arrest, several former girlfriends came forward with additional allegations of domestic violence. Prosecutors are asking the court to allow two of Petetit’s alleged former victims to testify in the current case, including Michelle Jewsbury.

Following Petetit’s 2015 arrest, Petetit tried to pay Jewsbury $250,000 to stay silent about her allegations of abuse, according to prosecutors. In 2016, Jewsbury filed a $10 million dollar lawsuit against Petetit for abuse and broken promises.

“From this evidence it is clear that he has an intense need to control and dominate women he is in relationships with,” wrote Deputy District Attorney Kristy Imel in an Oct. 25 motion.

In response to the prosecutors request, Petetit’s attorney Patrick L. Fisher claimed Petetit’s two former girlfriends are compromised. Jewsbury because of her lawsuit and the other former girlfriend because of a domestic battery conviction.

Petetit’s trial is scheduled to start on Nov. 27.

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