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Plea delayed in wife's death case

 | Published on 7/16/2010

The Woodside man accused of staging his wife’s fatal shooting to look like a suicide in hopes of cashing in on a hefty life insurance policy is still delaying a plea while he finalizes who will represent him in the potentially capital murder trial. 

Pooroushasb “Peter” Parineh, 64, could face the death penalty if convicted of murder for financial gain in the April 13 death of his 56-year-old wife, Parima.

Parineh has appeared in court several times since his arrest last month, but three separate attorneys have stated they are only making special appearances on his behalf while financing is solidified. If Parineh cannot afford his own attorney, the court will appoint one for him. If prosecutors seek the death penalty, Parineh will be entitled to two lawyers. 

Peter Parineh called 911 April 13 to report finding his wife dead in a bedroom of their multi-million home on Fox Hill. He told authorities he believed his wife had killed herself. Within days, however, authorities say they questioned the story — doubt compounded by multiple shots to Parima Parineh, substantial debt including the home being in foreclosure and life insurance policies rumored to be $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 killed herself. Defense attorney Paula Canny, who appeared on behalf of Parineh at two previous court appearances, has said he is not listed as a beneficiary on any of the policies and is “heartbroken” by the loss.

Sheriff’s deputies arrested Parineh June 17 in Sunnyvale and he is being held without bail.

The Parinehs, who had been married a long time, lived at the home with a grown son and daughter. 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.