help_outline Skip to main content

DSA In the News

Plea delayed in Woodside murder because of defense funding

Published on 7/1/2010

REDWOOD CITY — A Woodside man accused of shooting and killing his wife to collect roughly $22 million in life insurance money put off entering a plea to a murder charge Thursday while he sorts out how to pay for his defense, attorneys said.

Pooroushasb "Peter" Parineh, 64, is due back in court July 15 to enter a plea to one count of murder with the special circumstance that Parima Parineh, 56, was killed for financial gain. If convicted, he could face the death penalty.

Attorney Paula Canny, who represented Parineh on Thursday, said it is not yet clear whether she will be his lawyer for the trial.

"Everybody's trying to figure out a way to finance this defense," she said after the brief hearing, where she asked for and was granted a two-week continuance.

Police were called to the couple's multimillion-dollar home April 13 after receiving a 911 call from Peter Parineh saying his wife, an accomplished artist, had shot herself to death. When they arrived they found her dead in her bedroom with two bullet wounds in her head, authorities said.

Police quickly began investigating her death as a murder and Peter Parineh, a real estate investor, was arrested last month.

Canny said Parineh doesn't stand to gain a penny from his wife's two life-insurance policies. He is not listed as a beneficiary, she said, adding that she isn't sure who the beneficiaries are.

Canny said the prosecution has charged an innocent man.

"They're just flat-out wrong," she said.

While prosecutors have not elaborated on the murder for financial gain charge, it is clear the couple was facing money trouble. Their Woodside home, which they bought for $5.1 million in June 2002, was in foreclosure, and they were delinquent on their property taxes for at least two other homes, records show.

Prosecutors have said that Parima Parineh's life insurance policy would have paid out in the event of suicide. Most insurance companies pay benefits if the policy has been held at least two years.

Parineh remains in custody without bail.