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Warrant: Man charged with murdering mom, brother thought phone was bugged

Seth Peterson thought police were following him and his phone was bugged in the days leading up to the shooting deaths of his mother and brother, according to a newly unsealed search warrant.
Seth Peterson thought police were following him and his phone was bugged in the days leading up to the shooting deaths of his mother and brother, according to a newly unsealed search warrant.
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PRICE — Seth Gordon Peterson thought police were following him and his phone was bugged in the days leading up to the shooting deaths of his mother and brother, according to a newly unsealed search warrant.

Peterson, 25, of Ferron, was charged in November in Carbon County's 7th District Court with two counts of aggravated murder, a first-degree felony; in addition to attempted aggravated murder and aggravated robbery, first-degree felonies; and failing to stop at the command of an officer, a third-degree felony.

He is accused of shooting and killing his mother, 45-year-old Susan Peterson, and 23-year-old James Peterson, on Nov. 2 in a field near a farmhouse outside Hiawatha, Carbon County.

A preliminary hearing is set for Jan. 3. During his last court hearing on Dec. 5, Peterson's defense attorney David Allred noted in court that competency issues needed to be addressed.

Susan Peterson was a mother of 15 children, ages 28 to 3. On Nov. 2, she and James Peterson went to the farmhouse to pick up Seth Peterson, according to earlier statements made by the Carbon County Sheriff's Office, though there was no indication why Seth Peterson was there.

According to charging documents, other members of the Peterson family were nearby or present during the shootings.

"I just shot my mom in the (expletive deleted) face," Seth Peterson was heard saying after shooting his mother, according to charging documents.

When James Peterson drove toward his mother and got out of his truck, he too was shot.

Seth Peterson took his brother's truck and drove up to another man and said, "You have to help me hide two bodies," while pushing a rifle into the man's chest, the charges state.

When the man pushed the gun away and tried to detain Peterson, Peterson grabbed a crowbar and hit the man several times, "narrowly missing his head and significantly injuring his left arm," charges state.

Seth Peterson was arrested following a car and foot chase. The sheriff said several high-powered rifles were recovered from the scene.

"Seth stated during an interview that he believed he was being followed by the police or other persons and that his cellphone was bugged. Seth said he threw his previous cellphone out of the car near Exit 13 on Interstate 215 the day prior to the homicides," according to a search warrant affidavit filed in 7th District Court.

Peterson purchased a new phone on the day of the shootings and used it "to call 911 from the Feichko farm several hours before the homicides," the affidavit states.

Deputies had responded to a call of a "suspicious incident" at the ranch about three hours before the shootings, but the sheriff said there was no threat at that time.

Following his death, a family member posted a message on James Peterson's Facebook page as if he were from James.

"I know it was the drugs, not you. Mom forgives you. She knows it was the drugs, not you. Make the world happier for me, now that I have passed," the family member wrote.