A Cathedral City man accused in the 2016 killing of his roommate is scheduled to appear in court for a pre-trial hearing today.
Trial for Scott Edmund Pettigrew, 50, has twice been delayed since his arrest more than three years ago. His trial was initially scheduled to begin March 12, but it was pushed back to June, then pushed back yet again to August.
Pettigrew was arrested on June 15, 2016, on suspicion of murder and elder abuse in connection with the death of 66-year-old Anita Mimie Cowen, with whom he lived at a home in the 69000 block of Heritage Court in Cathedral City.
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 her request in which Pettigrew antagonized her, though no acts of violence were included in her comments.
In one altercation, Cowen wrote that Pettigrew angrily and falsely accused her of letting his dogs out.
“I do believe he created this incident to further unnerve me,” she wrote, saying he was “screaming like a banshee, the whole neighborhood could hear him.”
Cowen wrote that this was one of two altercations within the past two weeks that prompted her to file a request for a restraining order.
“Scott is initiating this to keep me in constant fear of him and what he will do next time. I don’t want a next time.”
Cowen wrote that Pettigrew never paid her rent past 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.
Cowen also accused him of pouring water onto her computer and cutting the batteries out of her home phones.
“I am being terrorized daily in my own home,” she wrote.
Cowen requested that Pettigrew be ordered to stay at least 100 yards away from her and not be allowed to contact her in any way.
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 move-out order for Pettigrew was denied as there was “no showing of assault or threat of assault (to) elder.”
Family members of Cowen called police late the night of June 14, 2016, after speaking with her on the phone and “hearing a verbal and physical disturbance in the background,” Cathedral City police Lt. Glen Haas said at the time.
Officers were dispatched at 11:39 p.m. that night to the 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. the morning of June 15, 2016.