Prosecutors charged a Woodside man with murdering his wife in April for financial gain, a special allegation that could carry the death penalty and lends credence to the belief she had a $20 million life insurance policy.
Authorities have been quiet on why Pooroushasb “Peter” Parineh, 64, allegedly shot his wife, Parima, in the head and reported it as a suicide but the charges filed yesterday point to a motive.
“We certainly believe it was for financial gain,” said Chief Deputy District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe, who confirmed Parima Parineh had a hefty insurance policy, thought to be worth $20 million.
How long she had the policy is unclear but Wagstaffe said long enough to pass the suicide exclusion period of at least two years. Most insurance companies require such a period after obtaining a policy as a safeguard. He also said there is currently no variable other than insurance to promote the special allegation.
On Monday, the District Attorney’s Office formally charged Parineh with murder plus the special allegation of committing murder for financial gain. If convicted, Peter Parineh would face either the death penalty or life in prison without parole although the prosecution must first decide to opt for a capital trial.
Parineh appeared in court yesterday for the first time since his arrest Thursday afternoon in Sunnyvale. Parineh, who is being represented by a private attorney, did not enter a plea and returns to court June 24.
Parineh’s arrest came more than two months after he called 911 to report finding his 56-year-old wife dead in a bedroom of their home at 50 Fox Hill in Woodside.
Parineh called at approximately 4 p.m. April 13. Authorities have not said how long they believed her to be dead at that time although Wagstaffe said it was at least “some hours.”
Parima Parineh had reportedly been shot more than once in the head and her husband said she had taken her own life.
Parineh lived at the six-bedroom residence with her husband and two grown children. Another child lives elsewhere. All said they were not home at the time of the shooting.
There were no signs of forced entry or that Parima Parineh’s wounds were self-inflicted, according to the Sheriff’s Office.
A gun was reportedly recovered from the scene.
Following the discovery, authorities said that her family were not being cooperative with the investigation. The children have since made statements to the police, said prosecutor Al Giannini who declined to comment further.
The couple were behind on payments for their multi-million dollar home. Both Wagstaffe and Giannini declined to comment on whether the couple had further financial trouble.
Parineh was raised in Tehran, Iran and moved to the United States when she was 22. She was an artist, according to an online biography.
In March, authorities confiscated weapons from Parima Parineh, alleging she might pose a danger to herself because of a failed bid to end her life. With her April death allegedly staged to look like a suicide, Giannini said the “Sheriff’s Office conducted a pretty extensive investigation of that attempt.”
He did not disclose the conclusion.
Parineh remains in custody without bail.