WASATCH COUNTY, Utah -- Accused date rapist and GOP activist Greg Peterson was found dead inside his Heber cabin Tuesday afternoon from a single, self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, according to Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill.
Peterson, 37, was arrested in July for more than two dozen charges in connection with the alleged assaults. His bail was initially set at $750,000, but it was raised to $2 million, partly because prosecutors considered him a flight risk.
After Peterson bailed out on Friday, bail bondsmen were monitoring him using an ankle monitor. When the battery to the monitor began to die, two bondsmen decided to visit Peterson at his cabin. That is where they found his body.
"They didn't know the door was unlocked and entered. Both of them were yelling his [Peterson's] name as they were going throughout the home -- no answer," said Wasatch County Sheriff Todd Bonner. "They did find him -- or a gentleman -- in an upstairs bedroom. [He] appeared to be deceased."
It is unknown whether Peterson left a note.
Police say there were multiple weapons in the cabin. They did not say what kinds of firearms were recovered.
Police say, based on evidence gathered from the ankle monitor, Peterson was walking around as early as Tuesday afternoon.
Five women had accused Peterson of sexual assault. Court documents say Peterson met two of his accusers online, convinced them to meet him for a lunch date, followed them back home, forced his way into their homes and sexually assaulted them.
Another woman said she met Peterson at a church function, where he asked her to go to a movie. When she got in his car, he allegedly used a gun to force her into going to his cabin in Heber where he sexually assaulted her.
Another woman claims he used her illegal immigration status as a way to keep her silent over the rape.
"You know, it is always hard for me to speak for a victim, but it has been a tragedy of a case from the beginning, and there has been nothing good about this case all the way through," said Scott Sweat, Wasatch County Attorney.
Peterson's defense attorneys claimed the alleged victims had fabricated their stories and that the sexual activity in question was strictly consensual.
Peterson was charged with aggravated kidnapping, forcible sexual abuse, and object rape.
Peterson's attorneys released the following statement following news of his death:
We are shocked and saddened by Greg's untimely and unforeseen death.
Greg always maintained his innocence and was confidant that had a jury been presented with the entire case, he would have been acquitted.
Greg felt an enormous pressure from the media and their one sided and inaccurate reporting of this case which villainized him from day one.
We ask that everyone please respect Greg’s family at this tragic time. They are in mourning and deserve their privacy.
Jerry Salcido & Cara Tangaro
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