Woman who pinned killing on others gets hefty prison term

Tammie Peterson, who stabbed her roommate 40 times, was sentenced Wednesday to 31 years.

EVERETT — When Christopher Jeanneret came home from vacation in May 2017, he tried calling his mother, but got her voicemail.

Later, he received a text from her phone number. She was fine, it said. She was in Reno, Nevada.

His mother, Deborah Jeanneret, was dead when the message was written.

The person who apparently sent it, Tammie Peterson, 55, was sentenced Wednesday to 31 years for first-degree murder. She pleaded guilty earlier this month.

Leading up to the crime, she had grown extremely jealous of her ex-boyfriend, threatening to kill anyone she believed was involved with him, court documents say.

Snohomish County Superior Court Judge Millie Judge rejected the defense attorney’s request for a shorter sentence. The judge said the actions Peterson took to cover up the crime, including texting Jeanneret’s son, was “a level of depravity the court hasn’t seen, frankly.”

Deborah Jeanneret, 50, was found dead May 30, 2017, in the bedroom of her apartment in south Everett, according to charging papers. She was buried under her own belongings, and had suffered about 40 stab wounds, many of them to her face and neck. Her hands and arms had also been slashed, indicating that she tried to fend off her attacker. The tip of a blade was embedded in her skull. She likely bled to death, about five days before her body was discovered, according to an autopsy.

Jeanneret’s credit cards, cell phone and car had been taken, and someone apparently cleaned up the scene. Peterson, who had lived there just a week, was gone.

Detectives met up with Peterson. She said her ex-boyfriend killed Jeanneret. Police arrested him, but discovered that he wasn’t in the area at the time and he was released.

Peterson then blamed the murder on someone else. Again, she lied, prosecutors said.

An acquaintance of Peterson told police that he helped get rid of the knife. He said Peterson wrapped the weapon in a plastic grocery bag and threw it into the Snohomish River.

He took officers to the location. They recovered the knife from the water. It had blood stains, and its tip was missing. Long dark hair was wrapped around it — the same type that was clutched in Jeanneret’s fingers.

Later, detectives identified a possible motive. Cell phone records showed that Peterson grew violently jealous of her ex-boyfriend. Three days before Jeanneret’s death, Peterson left him a voicemail saying, “I will find you. I will kill her. And I’m going to kill you.”

After killing Jeanneret, Peterson texted him: “why do u have to have affairs with everyone i no.. why deb.”

On Wednesday, Snohomish County deputy prosecutor Elise Deschenes described Peterson’s actions as callous.

“With each stab of the knife, the defendant could have chosen to stop and not take the life of Deborah Jeanneret,” she wrote in a sentencing memorandum. No single wound was the cause of the victim’s death.

Deschenes said that the defendant showed no remorse throughout the court proceedings, even toward the end. When Peterson pleaded guilty on the second day of trial, she didn’t admit to the homicide, but acknowledged that a jury would likely convict her.

Peterson chose not to say anything at the sentencing.

Speaking to the court, Jeanneret’s children talked about her love of animals and her plans to start a dog grooming business.

When her daughter, Amber Gomez, was younger and performing at public events, Jeanneret would always be the loudest, most boisterous person in the audience.

“What I wouldn’t give to be embarrassed like that again,” Gomez said.

Zachariah Bryan: 425-339-3431; zbryan@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @zachariahtb.

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