Estimated read time: 3-4 minutes
This archived news story is available only for your personal, non-commercial use. Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information. Reading or replaying the story in its archived form does not constitute a republication of the story.
HEBER CITY — A few weeks after a GOP activist who had been charged with raping several women was found dead in his cabin, his suicide note was released to the public.
Gregory Peterson was released from jail after posting his $2 million bail on Oct. 19. On Tuesday, Oct. 23, a bail bondsman from All Out Bonds, the bail bond company that aided Peterson with the bail, found the man dead from a gunshot wound in the head in the Heber City cabin.
In a suicide note released by the family on his Facebook memorial page, Peterson claimed his innocence of the rapes, kidnappings and assaults with which he was charged. He allegedly preyed upon LDS women, using LDS dating websites and church functions to meet women, later taking him to his cabin where he intimidated or threatened them.
On Oct. 30, a 4th District judge signed a motion to dismiss one count of forcible sexual abuse, a second-degree felony. The judge cited Peterson's death as the reason for dismissal, not evidence of innocence.
The Salt Lake County District Attorney's Office filed a motion to dismiss its case against Peterson Tuesday, a routine procedure after the death of a defendant.
After Peterson's death, Sim Gill, the Salt Lake County District Attorney, said they filed charges against the man because they felt they had strong cases.
There is another narrative, there's another set of facts that are out there that give context to this note, and I think it needs to be judged in the context of those other realities.
–Sim Gill, Salt Lake County DA
Gill, who confirmed the note's legitimacy, maintained his position Saturday that with the multiple victims who stepped forward, there was a valid case against Peterson and the note doesn't sway him.
"We certainly believe that we had met the threshold of probable cause. Beyond just the probable cause, we certainly felt there was a reasonable likelihood of success at trial," Gill said.
Peterson began the note saying that he loved life and that he "never kidnapped, raped, or burglarized anyone."
Throughout the note, he makes no apologies, rather, he tells his accusers — the names have been redacted — that they ruined him, and that they "have the blood of an innocent man on (their) hands." He refers to his death as an "assassination."
"(Name) has blood on his hands. Ironically, those with the most sins often lead the mob. Take a close look at the blackmail, extortion and media manipulation he instigated. From the time he threw an elbow in December at (Morgan) Philpot's event to provoke me, this guy has been the center of this hateful factory of lies."
Peterson claims that his charges stemmed from "a case about regret not rape." He said that the sexual advances he made with one woman were "suddenly crimies (sic) after 2.5 years of being consensual." He also claimed the woman used him in an attempt to obtain a green card and U.S. Visa.
Gill says, suggesting the victims made up their stories, is hard to accept.
"This was multiple cases in multiple jurisdictions with multiple victims that were brought together that had some common theme and that common theme was the behavior of Mr. Peterson," Gill said.
Peterson claims that his attorneys didn't let him "fight back" and that he hopes his "friends will take a second look."
He thanks his friends saying, "remember the many good moments we shared. Please work to stop this from happening to another peaceful man."
He ends by saying "I love you all very much, even the fair-weather friends. God Bless You."
Gill said that Peterson's last words offer just one perspective in a bigger story.
"There is another narrative, there's another set of facts that are out there that give context to this note, and I think it needs to be judged in the context of those other realities," Gill said.
Peterson encouraged his supporters to file a wrongful death suit.
The Salt Lake County DA says he hopes Peterson's victims have some measure of justice. They were able to face him in court during an emotional preliminary hearing: one shaked and sobbed, another talked about her nightmares and panic attacks.