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Mimi Cowan, Scott Pettigrow

Police: Quick thinking landlady records her ‘tenant from hell’ murdering her

A landlady who begged a California judge to evict her tenant was found murdered last year, prosecutors said in court on Friday. Sensing her tenant was extremely dangerous, the landlady recorded her own death; the shocking audio was presented in court as evidence.

CBS 10 News reports that police found Mimie Anita Cowen, 65, face-down in her swimming pool at her Palm Springs home on Heritage Court, on June 14, 2016.  She had deep purple bruises on her shoulders and all over her face. Authorities tried to revive her but she was pronounced dead shortly after.

Investigators searched the home and found her tenant, Scott Edmund Pettigrew, 50, on Cowen’s bed, lying naked and covered in scratches. On the floor under the victim’s kitchen table, detectives found an audio recording. At the preliminary hearing on Friday, Detective Heather Olsen said that the recording was taken the night of the murder.

“It was a recording of what I believe took place that night.”

While playing the audio in court on Friday, Cowen is heard screaming and shouting while in the process of a scuffle. Although the second voice in the recording is unintelligible, authorities said it was Pettigrew.

“Stay away from me!” Cowen held in the recording. “You bas****! You bas****! You bas****!”

“You bas**** You bas****! You bas***! “Get out of here! Get out of here! Get off me!”

Five days before the murder, Cowen attempted to have Pettigrew evicted. She told Superior Court Judge James Cox that Pettigrew refused to pay rent and that he continuously harassed her.

Cowen accused Pettigrew of pouring water on her computer, stealing her silverware, stealing food, threatening her, and removing the battery from her phone. The suspect had two dogs and reportedly, he never let them outside. He kept them locked in a bedroom where they defecated all over the floor.

“Scott is intensifying this to keep me in constant fear of him and what he will do next time. I don’t want a next time…I am being terrorized daily in my own home. Escalating each day…. I need help. I need a restraining order.”

Judge Cox ordered the dogs out of the house but allowed Pettigrew to continue living in the home, as long he stayed at least five yards away from Cowen. Cox told both parties to return to court in two weeks to work on a better solution.

Pettigrew met Cowen while working with her, and he started renting a room in her home after he had “an altercation with a neighbor.”

Pettigrew, charged with murder, denied that he harmed Cowen. He remains behind bars in the Banning jail, with no bail.

[Feature Photo: Police Handout]