The man suspected of killing his wife and fleeing to South Dakota earlier this month told investigators he “lost it and blacked out” during an argument in their Greene home.
Thomas J. Petersen, 39, of Greene, now faces a charge of first-degree murder in connection with the June 4 stabbing death of his wife, Judy Renee Petersen.
Petersen told a South Dakota sheriff’s deputy that he had gotten into a fight with his 36-year-old wife, and that she got out a paring knife and threatened to cut off his testicles, according to the criminal complaint filed Monday in Butler County District Court. Interviews with family and friends indicated Renee and Thomas had a history of arguments, court records indicate.
Investigators believe they recovered the knife used in the stabbing at the couple’s home and said that clothing Petersen wore was recovered at the scene and was stained with blood, court records show.
The clothing Petersen was wearing at the time of his arrest contained blood and is believed to be from the crime scene in Butler County, the criminal complaint filed Monday states.
Petersen remains in the Winner City Jail in Tripp County in South Dakota on the attempted murder charges in connection with the pursuit which led to his arrest. South Dakota officials will execute the warrant in connection with the Iowa charge. A judge has been ordered bail set at $500,000 cash only.
First-degree murder carries a mandatory life sentence without the opportunity for parole.
Petersen and the couple’s two-year-old son couldn’t be located after Judy Petersen’s body was found, so Iowa authorities issued an Amber Alert. Iowa law enforcement tracked Thomas Petersen through Iowa and Minnesota and into South Dakota by following a trail left by his bank debit card transactions, court records show.
Petersen fled as deputies in South Dakota closed in on him the next morning. During that pursuit, Petersen rammed a sheriff’s vehicle off the road and caused it to roll over several times, court records show. Petersen then left his two-year-old son on the side of the road and then rammed another sheriff’s vehicle head on.
Two counts of attempted murder, two counts of aggravated assault against a police officer, reckless driving and eluding and resisting arrest charges are still pending in South Dakota.