REDWOOD CITY -- The first witnesses in the murder trial of fallen real estate mogul Pooroushasb "Peter" Parineh detailed the defendant's visit to a gun range, his hurried trip to the gym on the day his wife's death was reported and his interest in a deputy's gunshot-residue test after authorities arrived.

The opening of the San Mateo County district attorney's case was brief and lacking in drama, as deputy district attorney Jeff Finigan laid down some of the foundation for his argument that Parineh, 67, shot his wife to death in their Woodside mansion in April 2010. Parineh, 67, was facing financial ruin, prosecutors claim, giving him a motive to pursue her $30 million life insurance policy.

Marcia Reed, office manager for Reed's Indoor Range in Santa Clara, testified Parineh spent an hour at the shooting range on Feb. 26, 2010, less than two months before authorities found Parima Parineh lying in a pool of blood in the master bedroom of the family home at on Fox Hill Road.

The on-duty manager of the Courtside Club, a gym Parineh belonged to in Los Gatos, said the defendant appeared to be in a rush when he stopped by around 1:30 p.m. on April 13, 2010. Ryan Alvarez testified that Parineh stayed for less than 30 minutes, about half as long as his regular visits, and did not make his customary small talk on the way in and out.

"I do remember that he was a little more hasty in terms of checking in," said Alvarez, whose testimony was bolstered by computer logs and surveillance footage.


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Parineh made a hysterical 911 call a little more than two hours after leaving the gym, claiming he had discovered his wife's body. Investigators determined four shots had been fired from a handgun Parineh owned. His wife had two bullet wounds to the head.

Sheriff's Deputy Andy Ward said Parineh appeared to be confused when the two spoke that afternoon. But the distraught husband became inquisitive when Ward prepared to test his hands for gunshot residue, the deputy testified.

"He became a little bit more alert," Ward said, "and seemed to become more conscious of what was going on."

Attorneys said during opening statements Thursday that some residue was detected on Parineh's face and clothes, though not on his hands. Defense attorney Dek Ketchum noted that residue was found on Parima Parineh's arms, supporting his argument that she took her own life. She had attempted suicide just a month earlier.

Court was in recess Friday afternoon. Testimony is scheduled to resume Monday morning.

Contact Aaron Kinney at 650-348-4357. Follow him at Twitter.com/kinneytimes.