By Joel Warner
By Michael Roberts
By Alan Prendergast
By Michael Roberts
By Michael Roberts
By Amber Taufen
By Patricia Calhoun
By William Breathes
part 2 of 2
January 31, 1995
Met T downtown. Afterwards we went and fucked once, then I saw Rachelle's picture in his wallet & I took it. He totally tweaked out on me so I got all hurt. Got in hugest fight ever. He told me we're over.
When Terrance's parents went out of town in late July 1994, Terrance invited Cheryl to stay with him for a few days. "And that," Cheryl testified at her trial, "was the first time Rachelle came into the picture.
"I'd heard about her a couple times," she said on the stand. "And he had just told me that they were together for almost a year. They had broken up right before he met me. And I had the impression that Rachelle was just--that she hadn't gotten over Terrance and that she still wanted to be with him. And he used to tell me that she was obsessed with him.
"So then she stopped by his house, and he ended up leaving for about four hours; not directly with her, but I knew he was with her. And when he came back, I was really upset about it, but we didn't break up. We just fought about it and then we made up. And that was when I first started, you know, kind of not trusting him and having my doubts if he was really loyal to me."
Over the next few months, Cheryl and Rachelle took turns breaking up and getting back together with Terrance--usually because one discovered that he was again dating the other. Sometimes Rachelle wasn't part of the triangle. "There was lots of girls," Cheryl testified at her trial. "It was mostly Rachelle, though. Rachelle was the main one."
The rivalry deteriorated into a physical confrontation by late summer. Rachelle had broken up with Terrance yet again, and she had demanded her belongings back. On August 17, Cheryl agreed to drive Terrance to the Target store where Rachelle was working so he could deliver the goods. Terrance told Cheryl that he planned to tell Rachelle he never wanted to speak with her again. "He wanted to convince me that he didn't want to be with her anymore," Cheryl testified.
Instead, Terrance confronted Rachelle and demanded to know where she'd been the night before. When she wouldn't respond, he pulled her out of her checkout booth. The police were called, Terrance was arrested, and Rachelle took out a restraining order against him.
But that didn't end Terrance's harassment or his obsession with Rachelle. He even enlisted Cheryl in on his schemes. According to Cheryl's testimony at trial, Terrance asked her to call Rachelle's house. She did, rousing Lorrie Peterson at 1 a.m. "She just said, `Is Rachelle there?'" Lorrie Peterson recalls. "And I said she was sleeping. She said, `Tell her she's dead.' I said, `Who are you?' And she said, `This is Cheryl.' I asked her, `What did she ever do to you?' And she said, `Just tell her she's dead.'"
By late October, the tables had again turned. Terrance and Rachelle were back together. And Terrance confided to Cheryl that Rachelle was pregnant. The Petersons say they're still not sure whether their daughter really was pregnant at the time or whether she and Terrance made up the story to hurt Cheryl. Either way, Cheryl was livid and, according to Nanci, a little jealous that it was Rachelle who was pregnant and not her.
"I think she thought that maybe she would be in Rachelle's position if she was pregnant," Nanci says. "You know, with Terrance. Once she said, `I think I'm pregnant; that would be so cool.' And I'm like, `Your mom would trip.'"
It was just a couple weeks after Cheryl heard the news, and just a day after she'd spent the night with Terrance, that Cheryl ran into Rachelle and Terrance at No Excuses, an Arvada nightclub. "Terrance and Rachelle were standing there," Nanci says, "and Cheryl said, `Fucking bitch! I'm going to beat her ass!'" At trial, under questioning by Silverman, Cheryl admitted she "probably" said she wanted to kick the baby out of Rachelle's stomach.
Terrance tried to break up the fight by pinning Cheryl's arms, but she was still able to kick Rachelle in the torso. At trial, Silverman suggested that the attack may have caused Rachelle to have a miscarriage, though it's still not clear whether she was even pregnant. When bouncers came to break up the fight, Cheryl convinced them that it was Rachelle who'd started the melee; Terrance and Rachelle were the ones who got booted out.
According to Terrance's family, Rachelle was the one Terrance truly loved. With Cheryl, says Terrance's cousin, Tareal, "it was more or less a use thing. He kind of knew it and she kind of knew it. Whenever he needed a ride he would call her, or if he needed money he would call her.
"She was in love with him," Tareal says. "To her, he was God. We both knew that no matter how bad he'd treat her, she was still going to love him. That's called `locked down.' She was locked down."