Almanac

News - July 17, 2013

Woodside man sentenced to life without parole for wife's murder

Pooroushasb "Peter" Parineh, the Woodside man found guilty of murdering his wife and attempting to make it look like a suicide, was sentenced Friday, July 12, to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Unlike his trial appearances, for which Mr. Parineh wore a dark suit, at his sentencing hearing before Judge Lisa Novak, he wore an orange prison jumpsuit with chains around his ankles and wrists. At one point, the wrist chains were removed so he could read a letter to the judge, said Deputy District Attorney Jeff Finigan, who prosecuted the case.

San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe called Mr. Parineh's letter "a lengthy and rambling statement, claiming innocence and blaming his children for making the victim commit suicide."

In responding to Mr. Parineh's letter, Judge Novak called him a "shameful, petty, little man who has destroyed a family" and that he "should be ashamed" of everything he just said, Mr. Finigan said. "Your arrogance is exceeded only by your greed which is exceeded only by your cowardice," she added.

Mr. Parineh, 67, will be housed in San Quentin State Prison in Marin County while officials determine where in the prison system he will spend his time. Among the determining factors are the nature of his offense, the length of his sentence and his medical condition, Mr. Finigan said.

Mr. Parineh was found guilty in May of first-degree murder in the shooting death of his wife Parima Parineh on April 13, 2010. He testified that on that day he found his 56-year-old wife's bloody body in bed in the master bedroom of their Woodside mansion. She was shot twice in the head, with wounds that prosecutors said could not have been self-inflicted.

Mr. Parineh was in dire financial straits when his wife died, according to lawyers and witnesses from both the defense and prosecution. Five of his properties were in foreclosure and he was within days of being evicted from his Woodside home.

Apparently his wife had more than $30 million worth of life insurance policies in her name, which prosecutors argued provided a motive for the suicide cover-up in her murder.

The defense contended that Parima Parineh, an accomplished painter, was depressed in the months before her death and that she shot herself knowing her family was facing financial ruin.

The defense argued that the gunshot that entered from the right of her mouth and out the left side of her head might not have been fatal, allowing her to fire a second shot.

At the end of the trial, which began in mid-April, the jury found Mr. Parineh guilty of murder with the special circumstance of killing for financial gain and for using a firearm.

On July 12, the judge also ordered Mr. Parineh to pay $10,000 in restitution and $10,000 in felony fines. Money found on him at the time of his arrest, totaling around $1,000, was ordered turned over for restitution, Mr. Wagstaffe said.

==I — Dave Boyce of the Almanac and Bay City News Service.==

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