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Attorney: Accused wouldn't benefit from wife's death
June 25, 2010, 03:35 AM By Michelle Durand Daily Journal Staff

The debt-saddled Woodside man prosecutors say fatally shot his wife to secure a multi-million dollar life insurance was not even a beneficiary of any policy, his defense attorney said yesterday.

Pooroushasb "Peter” Parineh, 64, "doesn’t get a penny,” said attorney Paula Canny.

Chief Deputy District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe would not comment on the beneficiaries.

Canny appeared in court with Parineh and asked for another week to enter a plea while they work out whether she will be formally retained as his counsel. He was ordered back July 1.

Canny described her client as "heartbroken” over the loss of his wife and life and said he is absolutely "innocent” in the death of Parima Parineh, 56.

Peter Parineh reported finding his wife in their home at approximately 4 p.m. April 13 and said he believed she had killed herself.

However, she had multiple shots to the head, Wagstaffe said.

Parineh was arrested June 17 in Sunnyvale and authorities quickly pointed to finances as a motive.

The Parinehs’ multi-million dollar home at 50 Fox Hill Road was in foreclosure, they had enormous debt and Peter Parineh reportedly wasn’t paying his bills. His wife had at least one substantial life insurance policy, thought to be worth $20 million.

The insurance policy’s suicide exclusion period had passed, making Parineh eligible for a payout if his wife was found to have indeed kill herself.

Parima 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.

By the time emergency responders found Parineh, she had been dead for at least "some hours,” according to Chief Deputy District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe.

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 faces either the death penalty or life in prison without parole although the prosecution must first decide to opt for a capital trial.

But Canny said the District Attorney’s Office is wrong.

"I believe they are prosecuting an innocent man,” Canny said. "I’m sure they have their reasons but this wouldn’t be the first time someone has been wrongly prosecuted.”

Even if Canny is retained, she’s not certain yet if another attorney will come on board. Defendants in capital cases are entitled to two defense attorneys.

The death penalty decision won’t be made until after he his held to answer and moved to Superior Court, said prosecutor Al Giannini.

Parineh remains in custody without bail.

Michelle Durand can be reached by e-mail: michelle@smdailyjournal.com or by phone: (650) 344-5200 ext. 102. 

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