Woman sues for $10M, claims developer beat her repeatedly

June 3, 2016

Michelle Jewsbury with a black eye after an encounter with Ryan Petetit


At first, Michelle Jewsbury loved Ryan Petetit’s romantic gestures and, she said, the feel of his touch. Then he began choking her and slamming her against walls, according to a lawsuit filed in April.

Jewsbury, after filing a $10 million suit against Petetit, recounted her two-year turbulent relationship with one of San Luis Obispo County’s most prolific builders, complete with stories of high-rolling excursions with Petetit courting wealthy businessmen to invest in his and attorney John Belsher’s investment firm.

Belsher, 61, and Petetit, 28, are principals in dozens of development-related companies including Axis Engineering, Wright Homes and Communities, and PB Companies, according to company documents. Former consultants who worked with PB Companies claim Petetit and Belsher commingled investor funds, diverted investment monies, utilized shell companies and paid San Luis Obispo County Supervisor Adam Hill to help promote their projects.

Petetit, who is currently facing five felony charges for reportedly choking another girlfriend and smashing her head through a window, has a long history of alleged brutal attacks against women.

John Belsher and Ryan Petetit

In Jan. 2012, Petetit convinced Jewsbury to quit her job in Los Angeles and live with him at his Arroyo Grande home. Jewsbury said she was swept off her feet by a man who showered her with gifts and a luxury lifestyle she had never known before.

However, after about four months, Petetit at times would launch into jealous and often violent rages, according to the lawsuit.

In May 2012, Petetit allegedly became angry with Jewsbury at a San Luis Obispo bar and began pushing her and spitting on her. The next morning, Petetit apologized, blamed his drinking and claimed it would never happen again, according to the lawsuit.

However, “over the course of the next few months, Petetit’s emotional, sexual, and physical abuse of Jewsbury continued and began to escalate into more frequent physical violence, especially when Petetit was drinking,” according to the lawsuit.

In August 2012, the couple was socializing with friends in Santa Barbara when Petetit became angry, dragged Jewsbury from a bar and forced her into a taxi, according to the lawsuit. Back at their hotel room, Petetit placed both of his hands on her neck, pushed Jewsbury up against a wall and began to choke her, the lawsuit says.

After Petetit released Jewsbury, she began screaming, which brought Santa Barbara Police officers to the room.

Officers found Jewsbury sobbing with red marks on her neck and the room in disarray, according to police. The officers arrested Petetit and booked him into the Santa Barbara County Jail.

From the jail, Petetit began calling Jewsbury and begging her to forgive him and help him get out of jail. Jewbury posted his bail and picked Petetit up from the jail. She later refused to cooperate with prosecutors and the charges were dropped.

Again, Petetit returned to being a loving, romantic man, though it was short lived, according to the lawsuit.

While in Mexico with Jodi and John Belsher in Sept. 2012, Petetit began threatening Jewsbury that if she left him, he would kill her, according to the lawsuit.

Jewsbury said when she tried to reassure Petetit that she was not interested in other men, Petetit would respond violently.

In one incident, Petetit “placed his fingers in Jewsbury’s mouth, grabbed hold of her lower jaw, and pressed his fingers against the bottom palate of her mouth, causing Jewsbury severe pain and bleeding,” the lawsuit asserts. “While doing this, Petetit took his other hand and placed it around Jewsbury’s throat and squeezed hard to restrict airflow.”

Jewsbury said she feared Petetit would kill her if she reported what he had done or attempted to leave him.

On New Year’s Day 2013, Petetit, Jewsbury and a group of friends were celebrating at the Cliff’s Resort in Pismo Beach when Petetit threw a drink in Jewsbury’s face because he thought she was flirting with another man, according to several witnesses to the event who have asked to remain anonymous out of concern for their safety.

“A male stranger tried to stop Petetit, but Petetit hit him in the face so hard blood started to come from his nose,” the lawsuit says.

Jewsbury left the bar and Petetit followed, witnesses said.

Outside the club, Petetit grabbed Jewsbury by the throat, pushed her knocking her head into a concrete bench. Petetit then grabbed her head and smashed it several times into the concrete, a witness said.

“I thought he had killed her,” the witness said.

Pismo Beach police arrested Petetit for a misdemeanor charge of corporal injury and booked him into the San Luis Obispo County Jail. However, that charge, too, was eventually dropped.

Ryan Petetit

Ryan Petetit

One of the witnesses, a former friend of Petetit’s, said officers asked him to leave the scene and refused to take his statement at the time. The witness said Petetit later bragged that several members of his family, who are in local law enforcement, circulated stories that Jewsbury was a drunk who had falsely accused other boyfriends in the past in an attempt to get the charges dropped.

Jewsbury, who said she has never reported another boyfriend, ended the relationship with Petetit and moved back to Los Angeles. A few months later, Jewsbury returned to the relationship when Petetit promised to begin couples’ therapy, which he did.

Jewsbury said Petetit then begged her to stay in Los Angeles and not to communicate with San Luis Obispo County prosecutors.

In Sept. 2014, after suffering a final beating, Jewsbury said she ended her relationship with Petetit.

Jewsbury has since written a play titled, “But I Love Him…” which is showing at the Asylum Theater at 6470 Santa Monica Boulevard in Hollywood on Saturday at 1 p.m., June 16 at 7 p.m., and June 26 at 4 p.m., as part of the Hollywood Fringe Festival.

When asked if the play was about Petetit, Jewsbury said she would not confirm or deny if the story line is based on her relationship with Petetit.

Michelle Jewsbury

Michelle Jewsbury

“In this daring performance, Michelle Jewsbury opens up about the harsh realities of her own personal past experience and shines a spotlight on an all too common issue that both men and women face: domestic violence,” a trailer for the play promises. “With her honest, bold and brave approach, Michelle, under the sharp direction of acclaimed solo artist and director Jessica Lynn Johnson, uses ‘But I Love Him…’ as an in-depth exploration of the very raw cycle of abuse and what it means to be a survivor.”

Petetit is currently facing five felony charges in San Luis Obispo County regarding a domestic violence incident involving another live-in girlfriend.

On, Nov. 22, 2015, an argument between Petetit and his then-girlfriend escalated at a home they shared in Arroyo Grande. It turned physical with Petetit allegedly pushing the victim and yelling, sources said. Petetit then allegedly grabbed the victim by the throat, choked her, dragged her to her feet, and shoved her head through a bathroom window, shattering the glass.

The victim attempted to escape, but Petetit allegedly slammed her head into the tile, took her phone and pushed her into a closet, refusing to release her, sources said.

The victim eventually fled to a family member’s home, who took her to a hospital.

On Thanksgiving Day, officers arrested Petetit at a family member’s home in Pismo Beach on charges of felony false imprisonment, felony battery with serious bodily injury, felony domestic violence, and a misdemeanor charge of disabling a wireless device. Petetit’s next court date is in August.


Truth Hurts

Dow is too busy doing push-up videos on Facebook. He needs to post what the crime the person was arrested for and what the person pled to. I have personally seen domestic violence charges get pled down to a disturbance with no jail time and she had injuries. There was a guy that was arrested with his wife that was stealing mail. He had meth. She had meth. The kids tested positive for meth and they had over 100 peoples mail in their possession. Under DAN they got no additional jail time just probation. Which they were already on by the way. I regret ever voting for him.

Truth Hurts

Sounds like the cops actually did their job. They can’t help the case was dropped. Many domestic violence charges are dropped when additional info comes out in the investigation. Also victims always want to recant their statements and get back together with the suspect. This guy was arrested several times it doesn’t sound like it was ignored. Nowadays domestic charges are not ignored (can’t say never though).cops will make an arrest if there is evidence even if the victim does not want prosecution. Remember it is recorded they don’t want to get in trouble either.


No, it sounds like the cops wrote a crappy report and didn’t bother interviewing pertinent witnesses.


Well, Ryans Daddy is a COP, so I am sure there is Some level of sympathetic protection from Daddy-O and his Comrads, wouldn’t you think? Besides the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, and I may assume that scenario is valid here. Thus maybe a little guilt from these unfortunate multi-generational family habits??? just sayin’ maybe?


Now Jim, documented?? Where??

I know the uncle and he doesn’t have that kind of clout.

If I was looking to see if Ryan got special favors from somebody I’d find out what district attorney’s political campaigns he gave money to.


10mil? Give her twenty, and get rid of these fools once And for all.

I don’t care what kind of luxury these idiots think they’re living – the truth is they are cowards and crooks.


The real story is here, we have a women physically beaten and Ryan Petite is not concerned in the least. His idea of law enforcement, is what do I have to worry about? With Parkingson, Hedges and past LE leaders, and with such a strong relationship with Hill, Gibson, Dow and Bianchi, Ryan Petite has determined there will be no punishment.

When “men” exhibit this type of behavior, it stems from an inadequate masculinity. It also exemplifies a short coming in strength that be must exhibited at all time, Only Petite can’t defend himself with fellow strong males, he needs to be the Alpha male, but can’t fulfill the job. Striking out on a weaker person makes him feel superior.

SLO County has pushed to destroy a strong community, by laying down and being subservient to the “elected and appointed weaklings”. This absolutely is the county’s fault. We elect or appoint people to positions without proper vetting or background investigations.

This will only stop when we have enough. Get involved, this could’ve been your daughter. Or this could’ve been much worse. Adam Hill and Bruce Gibson have no character and will not disassociate themselves form Petite and Belcher, and why should they. Hill, Dow and Gibson understand no one cares about this. Nothing to see here, what difference does it make, you people don’t understand or your just stupid. Take a pick…..


What the heck makes you think he has a strong relationship with Dow?


Perspicacious, I’m surprised by your lack of investigative skills, after taking a such a verbocious nom de plume. Research the AGPD response to multiple contact with Petite for domestic violence and under age drinking. Please look into the previous arrest that ended up being charges dropped. There is extremely distinct pattern here.

Now the latest run in with the law and the bail set by Dow. Look into how much money PB properties and associates helped Dow out with. He never returned the tainted funds. I’m surprised by your defense of Dow, and the Board of Sup’s.

It truly is a shame that instead of addressing Petite’s horrible actions, you try to defend Dow. The bail set was way toooo lloowwww, Dow has taken the road to keep support and funding for re-election.

The issue here is criminal and violent actions against a women, maybe chivalry and manners weren’t taught in your family. Let’s move forward, any put this “small” man in front of a judge. Civil charges require a simpler concencus to prove guilt, thus taking this out of the hand of Dow….


“Now the latest run in with the law and the bail set by Dow. ”

Bail is set by a judge, not a district attorney.


Dow recommends an amount, do the research, it was set low by the prosecutor. The judge uses that to help in determination. More importantly why has the wheels of justice moved so slowly, with an alleged serial perpetrator of violence on women. How does this send a strong message to other abused women. Men see Dow’s lack of resolve on Petite. Why hasn’t Dow made a strong statement to the “trib”, using his position to possibly stop this crime. Nope, not a peep.


Retract your statement. You are wrong! Dow NEVER asks for a lower bail. Dow’s lack of resolve on Petetit? You are now throwing out lies with no basis and showing how ridiculously foolish you are. How in God’s name was Dow supposed to STOP this crime? You are as ignorant as they come and just need to shut up.

Josey Wales


As they say, ‘Birds of a feather, flock together’, and the association with this perp is a black eye for ALL the leftists in SLO County, including Adam Hill, Bruce Gibson, Tom Fulks, etc.

Using relationships with the law enforcement community to excuse their behavior only shows that these types think they are above the law, and serial abusers only get sicker and uglier.

Overall, our beautiful Central Coast is rampant with corruption by our so-called leaders, and in santa Barbara County, political leaders like Supervisor Steve Lavignino and Supervisor Peter Adam barely bother to disguise their corruption. Both are ‘Sanctuary City’ politicians who accept donations from Big Ag and illegal alien farmworker unions (CAUSE/PUEBLO) to do their bidding.

If SLO County residents know whats good for them, they will demand that Ian Parkinson and Dan Dow stop coddling these perps and do their job. Do not let what has happened in SB County happen up here.


Before you make comments about Dow “coddling these perps” you better present evidence and quit blowing smoke out of your…


Perspicacity, please read the previous response. Dow has failed horribly as DA on this defendant, plain and simple…..


He wasn’t even the DA when the other cases were dismissed. He IS the DA now and Petetit is being prosecuted. You have NO credibility.


Ryan is a notorious name dropper when he thinks it will get him something, like getting out of hot water. The uncle is related by marriage and the two don’t have a relationship.

Jim Anderson

Now jana, it’s documented that Commander dumbass told Ryan not to worry. They have quite the relationship.


it was commonly known downtown slo that Ryan was a predator who would wine and dine a lady then become drunkly abusive. his big romantic gesture was to take a lady to Santa Barbara in a limo. I wonder now who was paying for all those fancy dates??? INVESTORS??? great guy to hitch your reputation up with John. your career will always be tarnished in this county. now you are right up there with Karen Guth and Company.

the situation

John Belsher and Ryan Petetit have been ripping off their investors and contractors for five years. The proof is in the pudding. Look around at the disasters they call “projects”. If they really had money, these projects would already be done. Look at all the lawsuits filed against them by their investors. Time to fess up boys. Come clean to your investors and offer restitution, otherwise you’re going to prison. Ryan, there is no hope for you. You are going to prison regardless you cowardly woman beater.

Adam Hill- The evidence will soon come forth that you have been taking bribes from these criminals and other developers. You drive nice cars and live in an exclusive neighborhood on a Supervisor’s salary. You are either too dumb or arrogant to notice what you are doing. Come clean now, resign, and move back to New Jersey where you belong. Or… go to prison.


And Jody should quit researching and worrying about marijuana use and turn her time and attention to domestic Violence.


The most disturbing part of this very disturbing story is that allegation that Ryan is being protected by family connections to law enforcement. If true, cops are basically emboldening this animal and saying “Do whatever. You won’t be held accountable.”

I would encourage both Sheriff Parkinson and DA Dow to spread the word among the ranks that this behavior will not be tolerated any longer. It may be a stretch but perhaps the county grand jury should get involved and investigate how these incidents were handled.

It might be nice for Jan Marx, who practices selective feminism, to add her voice of concern.

And, of course, District 3 supervisor Adam Hill seems uncomfortably close to John and Ryan. It’s time for Adam to shut this joker down—or he’ll never be state senator.


Tom Fulks The Most Powerful Leftist Behind Bruce Gibson

Tom Fulks… if individuals played with you way back when in the sandbox maybe they would be willing to smile and be polite with you because you were not always working for the evil ones. But when someone new on the scene becomes aware of your handiwork and willingness to go after anyone your handlers say to then they only know you today not way back when.

Today Tom’s only mission is whatever Bruce Gibson asks of him to do. Bruce plays the role of the “SLO GodFather” and Tom plays the role of his Thug. In today’s world in this county Gibson gives the orders and Tom carries them out in any way he chooses but it must be raw and BAD. Tom is not concern with the truth because the truth by now would have sent Bruce Gibson and Adam Hill packing.

Why say this here? Where is Tom Fulks, Bruce Gibson and Adam Hill’s outrage at this sick man Petetit?