Petersen sentenced in shooting death of infant son

Posted at 6:21 PM, Oct 21, 2013

PROVO -- Joshua Petersen was sentenced to life without parole for the shooting of his infant son.

Sobbing and fighting back tears he testified in a Provo courtroom Monday.

“I’m very sorry for what I did. I would take it back if I could,” Petersen said.

Petersen, 21, apologized to the court and to his own family. He admitted to shooting and killing his 5-month-old son, Ryker, last April.

Petersen shot the infant in the head and then planned to turn the gun on himself, but his grandmother stopped him. In court Monday for the sentencing hearing, his mother testified on her son`s behalf. Tammy Petersen said he was always a good kid who didn`t get into trouble and did not do drugs or alcohol. She said it was extreme depression that drove her son to pick up a rifle and shoot Ryker.

“We lost two that day. Our family will never be the same,” Petersen’s mother said. “This tragedy has brought both families great loss and the pain is horrific. Our entire family has stood by Josh and will continue to do so.”

As she spoke Petersen’s mother tried to fight back tears. Right behind her, her son hung his head occasionally looking up at his mom and wiping away tears.

Oct. 23 would have been Ryker’s first birthday. Two families, Josh`s and Ryker`s are devastated by the loss.

However, the judge said while he feels for both families, the sentencing deal reached with prosecutors was just. Ryker's mother and other family members were in court, crying and sobbing, but did not want to talk to media. Petersen’s grandmother spoke to us after the hearing.

“It's my grandson, what am I supposed to say?,” Pam Thompson asked. “I had hoped he (the judge) would give a possibly of parole, but I understand Ryker's gone. This is a hard place to be for our family; we've lost both of them.”