A medical examiner said on Thursday he could not determine whether the woman who died from ingesting a fatal dose of hydrocodone in June 2018 had herself taken the pain reliever or had been poisoned by someone else. .
Prosecutors say David Pettis, 60, mixed Peggy Pettis, 64, ice cream with a lethal amount of hydrocodone in order to receive life insurance payments from his wife and start a new life with a old girlfriend.
Thursday marked the third day of Pettis’ first degree murder trial.
Dr John Howard, Spokane County medical examiner and medical examiner at the time of the woman’s death, said the level of hydrocodone found in her system was “known to be inherently fatal”, but the muscle relaxant drugs, antihistamines, antidepressants, and acetaminophen she consumed that night likely precipitated her death.
Court documents indicated that the hydrocodone was about 10 times the “therapeutic amount.”
Authorities and medical staff responded to the unconscious woman on the night of June 25, 2018, at 21424 S. Beckley Lane, southwest of Cheney, according to the documents.
Pettis, who is not in custody, said in court documents he fell asleep on the living room sofa shortly after 8:30 p.m.
He said he woke up around 10:30 p.m. and found his wife lying on the floor face down between the bed and the bathroom, according to the documents. He called 911 and started CPR. She died around 11:10 p.m.
Before his wife’s death, Spokane County Assistant District Attorney Joseph Edwards said on Wednesday that Pettis traveled to New York for a funeral in November 2017 and “rekindled a flame” with a former high school girlfriend . Edwards also said that when his wife died, Pettis would receive two big life insurance payments, one that would take effect two weeks before her death and another three days before she died.
Witnesses said Peggy Pettis was aware of the woman her husband remained with in New York City and also communicated with her for the months that followed.
William Porter, who lived with his wife Nancy at the Pettis Residence, told court Thursday that David Pettis told him, while Peggy was in the same room, that few men are lucky enough to have two wives who have them. love at the same time. .
Nancy Porter said she heard Pettis call the other woman “honey”, telling her that he loved her and that “I can’t wait to be with you”.
Colin Charbonneau, one of Pettis’ attorneys, said Wednesday his client has relationships with other women, but they are friendly instead of romantic.
Witnesses who knew the Pettis couple said their relationship had become difficult in the months and years leading up to his death. Financial problems were one of the main reasons.
Nancy Porter said Peggy Pettis appeared depressed, but said she didn’t think the woman would kill herself. The defense said Wednesday that Pettis’ death was tragic but the result of an accident or suicide – not murder.
Nancy Porter said David Pettis bought life insurance every day or almost every day from about a month before Peggy died. David Pettis was also looking for life insurance.
“It was like he was pushing her to get insurance,” said Nancy Porter.
According to court documents, Pettis called the medical examiner’s office on July 2, 2018 and asked if there was anything that could be done to speed up the results of the toxicology report as he needed it to receive the money from life insurance and bury his wife. The documents indicate that Pettis called the Washington State Patrol Toxicology Laboratory about 10 times, saying his daughter was unhappy with the length of the process, according to documents.
The trial will resume Monday at 9 a.m.