Due to a disagreement over the custody of his three-year-old daughter, Peter Zeihen’s vindictive in-laws brutally murdered him. Zeihen’s ex-wife Orinne Goldberg’s parents, JoAnn Peterson and Mel Goldberg, planned against him and made numerous attempts on his life. Peter Zeihen was murdered in 1991, and the primary defendants in the case were his in-laws.
Every week on Oxygen’s Snapped, a female felon who has committed a terrible crime against a family member is introduced to the audience. The murder of Peter Zeihen was the subject of the most recent Snapped episode.
Who was Peter Zeihen’s murderer?
When Peter Zeihen’s marriage to Orinne Goldberg—whom he met in a marathon—started to fall apart, everything started to go apart. After they started dating, they soon began living together. They had a daughter, but their marriage quickly began to crumble, and they eventually divorced. With their daughter in tow, Orinne moved in with Mel Goldberg and JoAnn Peterson. Weekends would be spent with his daughter for Peter Zeihen.
Zeihen’s divorce application marked a turn for the worse. His in-laws, Goldberg and Peterson, did not find the idea of him obtaining only a portion of the child’s custody to be alluring. In particular, his mother-in-law was against the plan.
The decision was made by Peter’s in-laws to kill him multiple times in an effort to get rid of this tiny inconvenience. On November 18, 1991, Zeihen was sitting in his car outside his girlfriend’s Spokane Valley apartment when he was struck in the head with a shot from a 12-gauge shotgun. He was wearing a bulletproof vest.
The family’s matriarch, JoAnn Peterson, shot Zeihen with the help of her husband, Mel. Zeihen’s brother-in-law, who eventually confessed to the crime, provided the weapon. He claimed that his parents’ alleged involvement in the murder had tormented him for years and that he had made the decision to come out with it.
First-degree murder charges were brought against JoAnn and Mel, and they were convicted guilty of killing Peter Zeihen. The offense was punishable by the death penalty or life in jail without the possibility of parole, per Washington law. The latter was given to the killers.
Now, where are the assassins of Peter Zeihen?
First-degree murder charges were brought against JoAnn and Mel, and they were convicted guilty. The offense was punishable by the death penalty or life in jail without the possibility of parole, per Washington law. The latter was given to the killers.
Theil Goldberg, the victim’s brother-in-law, received a lighter sentence as a result of his cooperation with the authorities. He admitted to committing second-degree murder. In the case, Orinne Goldberg was not accused of anything.
When Mel Goldberg was convicted in 2000, he was 70 years old and showed no remorse for his actions. Later, he filed an appeal with the Supreme Court, asking for a 27-year term instead. He requested pardon in 2009 on the grounds that he had changed his ways and was in ill health, but his request was denied.
Mel Goldberg, 89, passed away at Kadlec Regional Medical Center in Richland after serving nearly 20 years in prison. He underwent COVID-19 testing, but the results were negative, ruling out COVID as the cause of death.
The Washington Corrections Center for Women in Gig Harbor housed JoAnn Peterson. She was the main offender who fired the shot and received a 26-year prison term. Only two months after the passing of her ex-husband, Peterson passed away in prison before she could serve out her sentence.