Peterson is facing one first-degree charge of selling heroin, two second-degree charges of selling and one count of possessing heroin.
His bail is set at $100,000 and he has been in jail since the last week of October, when the Rice County Drug Task Force arrested Peterson and seven other young people for suspected heroin dealing.
Peterson said he probably could not say much about his case, and he kept that resolve throughout our conversation.
I sensed that he still wanted to talk, but that could have been because I kept thinking how a visit with two nosy strangers (my fiance Josh Rowan was with me) might be the most interesting part of his day.
Peterson looked me in the eye. He didn’t move from his chair or take the telephone from his ear as he looked at me from behind the soundproof glass. He wore a gray sweatshirt beneath his orange jumpsuit. Josh and I, wearing our thick, winter coats, barely fit in the visitor’s booth across from him. There was one other booth next to ours in the tiny concrete room. There, a man told another prisoner he looked tired and asked if he was getting any sleep.
“Not really,” that prisoner replied.
I struggled to think of a question Peterson might be able to answer. I told Peterson I had spoken with some of his friends. I told him they said they still cared about him very much.
“How’s it going for you in there?” I asked.
“Not good,” he said. “Everyone thinks I’m this big drug dealer but…” he trailed off, looking downward and shaking his head.
“How does it feel, when you’re up there in court, in front of people?” I asked.
“Embarrassing,” he replied.
Peterson’s next pre-trial hearing date is scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 10 at 1:30 p.m. in the Rice County District Court.
Before I left, Peterson made a suggestion. He told me to write him a letter with a list of questions and he would write back.
“It would give me a chance to respond more wisely,” he said.
I would like to know what questions the readers here would like me to include in my letter to Peterson. When and if he replies, I will post Peterson’s response on the blog.