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Preliminary Hearing In Pettit Murder Case

Testimony over a couple of days in Stanislaus County Superior Court this past week was part of the preliminary hearing in a murder and arson case stemming from August, 2013. Popular and well-known Riverbank businessman Scott Pettit and his wife Janet were murdered in their Modesto home nearly four years ago. The couple’s son, Brandon, and his friend Felix Valverde are both facing charges of murder, arson and burglary in connection with the case.

The two are accused of breaking in to the couple’s home on Divan Court in Modesto, shooting the victims in their bedroom and then setting the home on fire, reportedly to cover up the crime. The bodies of the couple were found by firefighters responding to the call.

Pettit and Valverde remain jailed without bail in the Stanislaus County Jail and records show their next court appearance is scheduled for Wednesday, April 5.

In the preliminary hearing, testimony this past week indicated investigators found evidence of an accelerant used in the bedroom to start the fire and that Valverde had purchased a .22 caliber handgun shortly before the couple was shot.

Prosecutors list financial gain as the primary reason behind the crime.

Scott Pettit owned and operated Karate for Kids in Riverbank for several years and was active in multiple community events.