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Trial proceedings start for Coachella woman accused of gunning down spouse


Pretrial motions got underway today ahead of jury selection for the trial of a 39-year-old woman accused of fatally shooting her husband during a dispute at their Coachella home.

Cindy Gicela Parra is charged with murder, assault with a deadly weapon, spousal abuse and sentence-enhancing gun and great bodily injury allegations for the 2022 death of Francisco Lopez.

Parra's case was assigned Monday to the courtroom of Riverside County Court Superior Court Judge James Hawkins, who began ruling on motions concerning evidence, witnesses and trial scheduling.

Jury selection is slated to begin Tuesday at the Larson Justice Center in Indio. The defendant is being held in lieu of $1 million bail at the Smith Correctional Facility in Banning.

Testimony from Parra's May 2023 preliminary hearing revealed conflicting accounts regarding what happened between the defendant and victim.   

Sheriff's Det. Ricardo Ramirez testified that when he initially interviewed Parra, she said she was in the backyard making carnitas with her husband when he abruptly confronted her with a handgun that he kept in the bedroom. The defendant told the investigator she managed to grab the pistol, then put it back in a drawer.   

Parra then proceeded to detail different scenarios about what transpired in the predawn hours of Aug. 7, 2022, Ramirez said, including one in which Lopez pulled the gun away from her after she initially took possession of it and shot himself in the head.

The second scenario was that the defendant maintained control of the firearm and leveled it at Lopez, who told her, "If you have balls, pull the trigger,'' at which point she shot him in the forehead, the detective alleged.   

"She said that after she called 911, she went back to Francisco'sbody and placed the handgun ... underneath his hand,'' Ramirez testified.

"She had moments to think about and chose to end Francisco's life," Deputy District Attorney Shea Strand said during the hearing. "The whole night prior, as well leading up to Francisco's death, was riddled with argument, jealousy, chasing Francisco ... getting him into the vehicle and bringing him back ultimately to where his life ended."  

Deputies arrived at the couple's home in the 84-000 block of Fiesta Road shortly after 5 a.m. to investigate reports of a shooting and found Lopez dead from the head wound.

Parra was questioned at the scene and later at the sheriff's Thermal station, culminating in her arrest less than 24 hours later.   

She has no documented prior felony convictions in Riverside County.

Article Topic Follows: Crime

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