By Chris Cooney
Bay City News Service
The son of a Woodside man who is charged with killing his wife in April 2010 testified Tuesday that his mother had been depressed and under stress in the months leading up to her death, leaving open the possibility that she committed suicide.
Pooroushasb "Peter" Parineh, 67, wore a dark gray suit and frequently lowered his head during the testimony in San Mateo County Superior Court, where he is on trial for allegedly shooting his wife, Parima Parineh, twice in the head to cash in on $30 million worth of life insurance policies she had in her name.
According to the testimony of the couple's adult son, Khashayar Parineh, who lived with his parents in their Woodside mansion at the time of the shooting, the family had been under increasing pressure since the financial crisis of 2008 decimated their investments in the real estate market.
Creditors were calling the Parineh home as many as 10 times a day, and five separate properties owned by the family business were facing foreclosure, Khashayar Parineh said.
On the morning of the shooting, his mother fielded a call from a creditor who said the family had 20 days to make a payment or face eviction from their home, he said.
Khashayar Parineh said he spoke to his mother at 11 a.m. and that her tone was "somber."
A few hours later, Peter Parineh called 911 to report finding his wife's body in their home.
She had been shot twice in the head.
Deputy District Attorney Jeff Finigan maintains that neither shot could have been self-inflicted, that both were fatal and that Peter Parineh killed his wife to save himself from financial ruin.
Defense attorney Dek Ketchum has argued that Parima Parineh committed suicide.
Khashayar Parineh testified that even though his mother had attempted suicide about a month before her death, he believes his father killed her. "I was in shock at first," Khashayar Parineh said. "I didn't want to believe my father did this."
Khashayar Parineh said that after more facts in the case emerged during the investigation, it became apparent to him and his two siblings that his father was responsible for his mother's death.
"Unfortunately, I do believe that my father is involved," he said.
Khashayar admitted to having a difficult relationship with his father, calling him "destructively cheap" and disrespectful.
"I feel he thought I was incompetent," Khashayar Parineh said. "I dislike him even more now."
Further prosecution evidence is expected on Wednesday.
Peter Parineh could face the death penalty or life in prison if convicted.