By Diana Hefley Herald Writer
EVERETT — An Arlington man swore off guns on Thursday after being sentenced to 10 years in prison for an alcohol-fueled shooting that left another man with serious injuries.
“I have no intention of touching another gun in my life,” Robert Eugene Peterson said.
Peterson, 45, was accused of opening fire on another man during an argument in August. The victim was shot three times and remains in a rehabilitation center, some six months after the incident. The bullets damaged his bladder, liver and right kidney.
There are no immediate plans to discharge the victim from the center, Snohomish County deputy prosecutor Laura Twitchell said Thursday.
She cited the victim’s significant injuries and the callous nature of the shooting as reasons to lock Peterson up for the maximum under the state’s sentencing guidelines.
After the first shot, the victim attempted to run away, Twitchell said. Peterson shot him two more times. The shooting was unprovoked, she added.
On Aug. 7, the victim, Peterson and two other men were gathered around a patio table on property off Burn Road in Arlington. An argument broke out, followed by gunfire. Deputies were summoned to the victim’s camper several hours later. Police found the man curled up in a fetal position, bleeding.
Deputies spotted Peterson walking around the property. Detectives later located a .44-caliber revolver wrapped in a white paper towel under a wood pile next to a fire pit on the property. There were three spent casings and two live bullets in the gun.
Peterson pleaded guilty in January to first-degree assault. He entered an Alford plea, meaning he was not admitting guilt but acknowledging that a jury likely would convict him.
His attorney, Jennifer Rancourt asked for leniency on Thursday, pointing out that her client didn’t have any previous felony convictions and certainly hadn’t shown any signs of being violent before the incident.
The shooting was completely out of character for him, she said.
“This is a horrific reminder of why guns and alcohol do not mix,” she said.
Peterson called the shooting a “horrific mistake,” that has destroyed his life. He later apologized for his actions.
Superior Court Judge Larry McKeeman noted that alcohol might be an explanation for the crime, but it was not a justification for Peterson’s actions.
The judge acknowledged that Peterson had maintained a relatively crime-free life before the shooting. That, however, was overshadowed by the serious nature of the shooting and clear damage suffered by the victim, the judge said. He sentenced Peterson to two months less than the maximum allowed under the guidelines. He ordered Peterson not to drink any alcohol and to stay away from the victim for life.
Diana Hefley: 425-339-3463; firstname.lastname@example.org.