VISTA, Calif. – A woman who fatally shot her 53-year-old son-in-law 11 times in the house they shared in a gated Fallbrook community had breakfast at Denny’s right after the murder and then went gambling at the Pechanga Casino, prosecutors said.
Cynthia Katherine Cdebaca, 63, pleaded not guilty to murder charges Tuesday was ordered held on $5 million bail. Vista Judge Marshall Hockett called the defendant “an extreme danger” to the community.
A March 4 preliminary hearing was scheduled for Cdebaca, who faces 50 years to life in prison if convicted of murder and personal discharge of a firearm in the death of Geoward Flores Eustaquio.
Around 8 a.m. on Feb. 11, Cdebaca and Eustaquio were the only people in the home when he made a comment to her about what she was wearing, according to Deputy District Attorney Tracy Prior.
In response to the comment, the defendant went to her “granny flat” adjacent to the home and retrieved a .38-caliber, five-shot revolver that she had purchased about two weeks earlier, according to Prior.
Cdebaca came down the stairs and fired all five rounds at Eustaquio as he stood in a patio area between the house and the granny flat, the prosecutor alleged.
When Cdebaca realized that her son-in-law was not dead, she walked to her car in the driveway — where she had a box of ammunition — and reloaded the gun before firing five more shots, Prior said.
Recognizing that Eustaquio was still alive and was trying to crawl into the home and lock the door, Cdebaca returned to her car to reload the gun and allegedly fired five more times at the victim, according to the prosecutor.
An autopsy revealed seven .38-caliber bullets in the victim’s body as well as four other holes where bullets had entered and exited, Prior said.
“She (the defendant) then left the residence, tossed the gun in a nearby drainage ditch and threw the ammunition away,” Prior alleged. “She then went to Denny’s for breakfast, she went to Pechanga (Casino) for gambling, she went to the liquor store for cigarettes and she went to her favorite coffee shop to end her day.”
Around 5 p.m. that same day, officers caught up with Cdebaca, who originally denied knowing that Eustaquio was dead and denied any involvement, Prior said.
Later that night, however, Cdebaca told police she was responsible, stating that the victim “better be dead,” Prior alleged.
Cdebaca told police that she didn’t like the victim and that “if he were here, she would kill him again,” the prosecutor told reporters.
Eustaquio lived in the home on Braemer Terrace with his wife — who was at work at the time of the killing — and his two children, ages 15 and 12, who were at school, Prior said.
The victim was an unemployed ex-military member and National Guard reservist, according to the prosecutor.
The victim’s residence is inside the Peppertree Park neighborhood, which consists of about 225 upscale homes.
A 911 caller reported hearing someone shouting and what sounded like gunshots from inside the house about 8 a.m. Getting no response at the door, deputies entered the home and found the body, said sheriff’s Lt. Glenn Giannantonio.
Eustaquio’s LinkedIn page said he worked as a space orbital analyst at the California Air National Guard. Neighbors said his wife worked as a real estate agent.
“He was a great man, a great father, just a good person,” Patricia Aguigui said at the scene, identifying herself as a close family friend.
City News Service contributed to this story.