Home invader gets eight-year sentence
A convicted home invader who broke into two western Nevada County residences and brutally beat two people was sentenced Tuesday to more than eight years in prison, while the man’s accomplice from one of the break-ins is scheduled to be sentenced today.
Terry Pettigrew, 22, had accepted a plea bargain from prosecutors and pleaded “no contest” to two charges of first degree robbery and one count of assault with a deadly weapon.
Under a plea bargain, he will serve a maximum of eight years and four months in a state prison. Numerous other charges, including burglary and assault, were dismissed.
“It’s sad what happened to Terry,” said Pettigrew’s mother, Toni Pettigrew. “I was just glad that the truth came out. Terry stood up, crying, and apologized to both of the victims. I was very proud of him for that.”
On Jan. 8, a 52-year-old woman, later identified as Pettigrew’s step-grandmother, was sleeping on a couch in her home on North Ponderosa Way, according to sheriff’s reports. Pettigrew, wearing a ski mask, reportedly walked through an unlocked door and started hitting the woman over the head with a heavy flashlight.
A sheriff’s deputy found the woman with both of her eyes swollen shut, according to reports. She had a broken forearm and the deputy noticed that he could see her skull.
“The deputy specifically noted that there was so much blood, he could not tell the color of her hair,” the report stated.
Pettigrew left with about one pound of medicinal marijuana.
Several weeks later, on Jan. 27, 49-year-old Alta Sierra resident Richard R. Mayer had just fallen asleep in a recliner in his living room, on Quail Creek Road, at about 10:30 p.m. when Pettigrew and a man later identified as 23-year-old Mark Bowden walked through an unlocked door.
“All of a sudden, I woke up and there’s this guy poking me, telling me to, ‘Get up, you son of a bitch,'” Mayer told The Union in January.
The second man was standing behind Mayer and hit him over the head with Mayer’s golf putter.
One of the men revealed a large revolver and demanded money, Mayer said, and he led them to a jar of coins and casino chips in his bedroom. They took the jar and Mayer’s shotgun from his bedroom.
“The little guy was saying, ‘Let’s just shoot him,'” Mayer said at the time. “The big guy said no because the last time they did this, they didn’t have to shoot the guy.”
The robbers then put Mayer on top of his bed and tied him up with an electrical cord. Before leaving, they pulled most of the telephone wire out from the walls.
On Jan. 29, several of Pettigrew’s family members, including his cousin, reported that they thought he was involved in the two home invasions and that he was staying at the National Hotel in Nevada City. The cousin said that both he and Pettigrew worked for Mayer several years ago.
A Nevada City police officer stopped Pettigrew shortly after he got into his Camaro near the hotel, but he took off when he saw the officers. Investigators had to jump out of the way to escape the speeding car.
Pettigrew crashed the car on Bridge Street, and ran off. Plainclothes officers spotted the suspect five hours later behind a Chevron gas station on Sacramento Street. Pettigrew tried to run but was blocked by a sheriff’s cruiser.
He was found with coins and other evidence that linked him to the Jan. 27 home invasion.
Bowden was caught in a similar violent confrontation in Sacramento County by Nevada County investigators a few days later. He fled in a car after ramming sheriff’s cruisers and a semitrailer, and clipping one of the detectives. He was eventually tackled on foot by investigators.
On May 3, an acquaintance of Pettigrew’s who talked to the defendant a few days after the first home invasion told investigators that Pettigrew confessed to the crime.
The friend said Pettigrew told him that he wanted to steal the marijuana from the woman to sell it. The friend said Pettigrew was not expecting to find her home and hit her because she was being too loud.
“So (Pettigrew) said that he hit her and … then … I guess he said he tried to hit her again,” the friend said in the report. “And he said … he looked at me and he was crying … he had tears coming out of his eyes and he said, ‘Man, she just wouldn’t knock out.'”
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