No charges will be filed against a Lake County woman who in December fatally shot her husband, a well-liked part-time deputy with the Lake County Sheriff’s Office marine patrol.
Lake County District Attorney Don Anderson said Wednesday there was insufficient evidence to disprove Paula Piveronas’ contention that she shot Robert Piveronas, 66, in self-defense.
“It’s not surprising,” Paula Piveronas’ Santa Rosa attorney, Andrew Martinez, said of the decision.
Paula Piveronas, 64, told investigators that she and her husband had been consuming alcohol and were arguing over marital issues before the shooting. She said he had threatened to kill her, had grabbed her by her clothes and thrown her around, and that she believed he was reaching for a gun when she fired a 9 mm pistol, striking him three times in the chest in their Lakeport home, Anderson said.
He did not say what triggered the argument, but Martinez said Robert Piveronas recently had been accusing his wife of having contact with a man she had dated almost 20 years ago, before they married. The marriage was the second for both of them.
“He was fixating on that,” Martinez said.
Robert Piveronas also had been drinking excessively, and the couple were in debt, Martinez said. Piveronas was a retired Hillsborough Police Department captain with a pension, but the couple lived large, he said. Their possessions included an airplane, boats and a motorhome.
Before he died, Robert Piveronas confirmed his wife thought he was going to kill her, but denied hitting her or threatening her with a gun.
Anderson said a revolver was found on the floor of the bedroom, near where the shooting is believed to have taken place.
The way in which the bullets traveled through Robert Piveronas’ body corroborated his wife’s version of how it occurred, he said. It appears Robert Piveronas was leaning down and over the foot of the bed while his wife was at the head of the bed, Anderson said.
After shooting her husband, Paula Piveronas phoned 911, saying she’d killed him. Robert Piveronas was still alive but mortally wounded when deputies arrived. He died the next morning.
The burden of proving the shooting was a crime and not self-defense rested with the prosecution, Anderson said.
A criminal grand jury convened to investigate the shooting could not find cause for an indictment, Anderson said. He said he agrees with the grand jury’s decision.
The couple had no reported history of domestic violence, Anderson said.
People who knew Robert Piveronas have described him as friendly and a “great guy.”
He had worked for the Lake County Sheriff’s Office since 2007 and was well liked among his co-workers and the public, according to sheriff’s officials.
But Paula Piveronas was considering leaving the marriage because of her husband’s threats, which had included him earlier firing a gun into the ceiling, Martinez said. Their nearest neighbor said in December that she had never heard the couple argue.
Martinez said Paula Piveronas did not report the gunfire because they could not afford for him to lose his job with the Sheriff’s Office.
You can reach Staff Writer Glenda Anderson at 462-6473 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @MendoReporter.