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Hearing postponed in Woodside wife murder

 | Published on 10/22/2010


The debt-saddled Woodside man who prosecutors say staged his wife’s fatal shooting in April to look like a suicide in an attempt to cash in on a life insurance policy will learn some time next year whether he’ll stand trial on charges of murder and financial gain — a combination that makes him eligible for the death penalty.

Whether Pooroushasb “Peter” Parineh, 65, will face death row or life in prison without parole if convicted of killing his 56-year-old wife, Parima, won’t come until much later, however. The District Attorney’s Office tends to hold off on that weighty decision until after a preliminary hearing on the evidence. Yesterday, even setting the matter was pushed back until Jan. 5.

The delay was to complete turning over the evidence to the defense, according to prosecutor Al Giannini, who said there are substantial financial records to organize and peruse.

Defense attorney Paul Canny could not be reached for comment.

Yesterday’s postponement is just the latest delay since Parineh’s arrest in his wife’s April 13 death. Parineh was arrested in June but repeatedly held off entering a not guilty plea while trying several times to secure a defense attorney. Canny herself appeared early in the case, was replaced with another and then returned as Parineh’s counsel.

Peter Parineh called 911 April 13 to report finding his wife dead in a bedroom of their multi-million home on Fox Hill Road. 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.

But Canny contended after first being retained that her client was not a beneficiary of any policy, making a financial gain argument moot. Canny has described Parineh as “heartbroken” over the loss of his wife and “innocent.”

Authorities arrested Parineh June 17 in Sunnyvale. Parineh is being held without bail.