A September fight at the Boise Depot that led to the shooting death of Zacheriah Neil Peterson was the result of a love triangle, defense and prosecuting attorneys said this week during the first-degree murder trial of Brandon T. Bahr.
The charges against Brandon T. Bahr First-degree murder Aggravated assault with a deadly weapon Grand theft Use of a deadly weapon in commission of a felony
Bahr, 24, is accused of shooting Peterson, 21, on Sept. 23, threatening one of Peterson’s friends with a gun that he stole, and also stealing a black bandanna to conceal his identity.
The whole ordeal was started over a messy breakup, according to the opening statements from attorneys on both sides.
Bahr, of Boise, was in a romantic relationship with a woman for about two years, but then it went south. Bahr and the woman were in the process of breaking up when she began seeing Peterson, the attorneys said.
Things came to a head, defense attorneys said, after the woman contacted Bahr last fall to tell him she might be pregnant by him. On Sept. 23, she told him she was not pregnant. Bahr became upset and a daylong text message fight ensued, according to prosecutors. The texts involved “virulent, foul, violent” language, the prosecution said, and Bahr made a direct threat to Peterson’s life.
Bahr and Peterson agreed to meet that evening. According to the defense, they first considered meeting at a different location but decided not to because they were concerned there would be too much of a law enforcement presence. They settled on the Depot.
Peterson brought with him two friends and the woman. The friends are witnesses in the trial; the woman apparently kept her distance from the scene and prosecutors said she might not be relied on as an eyewitness.
Before heading to the Depot, Bahr allegedly went to his mother’s home and stole her boyfriend’s automatic handgun. He then reportedly stole a bandanna from a Wal-Mart, which prosecutors said he wore during the altercation.
According to the prosecution, Bahr parked his white PT Cruiser at a Taco Time near the Depot around 8:30 p.m., found tall grass, hid and waited for Peterson to appear.
When Peterson located Bahr, Bahr pointed the gun at Peterson and shot him in the chest, according to the prosecution. Bahr then reportedly pointed the gun at one of Peterson’s friends and threatened the friend, prosecutors said.
Police responding to the scene found Peterson, who was taken to Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center and pronounced dead shortly after he arrived. Officers determined that Bahr was the suspect that evening and arrested him shortly after midnight at a Meridian residence.
Defense attorneys are arguing that the witness accounts are inconsistent and that there is not enough evidence to support a first-degree murder conviction. But the prosecution says that Bahr admitted to committing each offense — except stealing the bandanna — and that the evidence shows Bahr planned to kill Peterson.
Opening statements were held Monday and the trial could run until the last week of April.
John Sowell contributed to this report
The charges against Brandon T. Bahr
- First-degree murder
- Aggravated assault with a deadly weapon
- Grand theft
- Use of a deadly weapon in commission of a felony