A 53-year-old Cathedral City man who fatally beat his roommate three years ago was sentenced Friday to 25 years to life in prison.
A jury in August convicted Scott Edmund Pettigrew of murder, elder abuse and violating a protective order stemming from the death of his roommate, Anita Mimie Cowen, 66, with whom he lived at a home in the 69000 block of Heritage Court in Cathedral City.
“The victim was particularly vulnerable,” Judge Johnnetta Anderson said during the sentencing hearing. “The defendant did take advantage of the position of trust or confidence to commit the offense.”
Officers were dispatched at 11:39 p.m. June 14, 2016, to Cowen and Pettigrew’s home, where they found Cowen unresponsive in the backyard. Paramedics were unable to revive Cowen, who was pronounced dead at 12:17 a.m. June 15, 2016. Pettigrew was arrested that day.
Cowen had filed a restraining order against Pettigrew less than a week before her death, stating that she had multiple altercations with him since he moved in with her with his two dogs a few months prior.
“Scott Pettigrew was a co-worker I believed to be a friend,” Cowen wrote, detailing living conditions that deteriorated at the home after Pettigrew moved in.
Cowen described several incidents in court papers in which Pettigrew allegedly antagonized her, but she did not allege any acts of violence.
She wrote that Pettigrew never paid rent beyond his first month living there and left their home a mess. She accused him of letting his dogs urinate inside, vomiting in the bathroom without cleaning it up, and throwing garbage away in the sink.
“I am being terrorized daily in my own home,” she wrote.
On June 10, 2016, the order was only partially granted by Riverside County Superior Court Judge James A. Cox, who stipulated that Pettigrew would have to move his dogs out of the home and that he had to stay at least five yards away from Cowen. The judge declined to issue an order requiring Pettigrew to move out, saying there was “no showing of assault or threat of assault (to) elder.”