The Granny Who Celebrated Killing Her Son-in-law
Weeks of bottled up anger led to the murder
On 11 February 2014, Cynthia Cdebaca was preparing to go to her granddaughter's spelling bee but was barred from going by her son-in-law because of the clothes she wore. That led to Cynthia doing the unthinkable.
The Family Quarrel
When Cynthia Cdebaca suffered a stroke, her daughter (Laura Salinas) agreed to let her stay at a granny flat attached to the house she shared with her husband (Geoward Eustequio). This move would allow Laura to nurse her mum back to health.
But inside the expensive house in Fallbrook, California, was a very unhappy family. The relationship between Laura and her husband was rough, and Cynthia was used to watching them arguing.
According to Laura, Geoward physically and verbally abused his family. he broke their teenage son’s electronics in his temper and sprayed family members with water if they misbehaved.
He even threw out the urn of Cynthia’s late husband’s ashes.
As a result, Cynthia hated her son-in-law, and she only saw one solution, kill Geoward.
Cynthia went to a local gun shop and bought a .38-calibre, five-shot revolver, and ammunition.
All she needed was for Geoward to say or do something that will make her want to kill him, and it didn’t take long for that to happen.
About two weeks later, Cynthia went to the kitchen to eat breakfast. She planned to go to one of the kids’ spelling bees. Geoward began to mock her.
‘I got dressed and he said, “You can’t go like that.” He told me, “You look ghetto,”’ Cynthia told Police
Filled with anger, Cynthia went to her granny flat to get the gun. She calmly loaded the revolver, and as Geoward was carrying a laundry basket across the patio, Cynthia started firing at him. When the gun was empty, she went for more ammunition.
Geoward was left injured on the floor, he managed to crawl inside his home and lock the door. But that didn’t stop Cynthia, who returned shortly afterward.
With a reloaded gun, Cynthia fired through the glass of the kitchen door to get inside. She then continued her rampage, shooting her son-in-law as he tried to crawl away.
Cynthia fired 15 shots in total. Three hit the kitchen door, but the rest struck Geoward.
Cynthia left her son-in-law dying, and made her way to a local cafe, and casually ordered bacon and eggs.
After finishing up her meal, she went to a casino where she gambled for around two hours. Afterward, she went for a coffee. It was there that she was arrested by the police.
When Cynthia was in custody, she started acting bizarre.
Video evidence of Cynthia’s initial interview shows her admitting she didn’t bother to check on her son-in-law after she’d fired all the bullets.
‘I didn’t care. I’d do it again,’ she told the police.
When officers told Cynthia that Geoward was dead, she waved her arms in the air and cheered.
‘Oh good, good, good,’ she said, smiling.
Cynthia then confessed that she’d been plotting to kill Geoward for a while and that she’d even been to a shooting range three weeks before the murder to get some target practice.
She justified her actions by telling the police how Geoward abused her family.
“So mean to me, to all of them. Yes he is,” said Cynthia. “They were afraid of him, yes. So mean to my daughter. I told her 13 years ago, he’s evil.”
Shortly after her interview, Cynthia was given the chance to say goodbye to her family before being led off to jail.
While most of them hugged Cynthia, her youngest granddaughter pushed her away, and said, ‘No, you killed my dad,’
The Trail of Cynthia Cdebaca
In court, Cynthia’s daughter Laura (Geoward’s wife) testified in her mother’s defense.
Her lawyer told the court that his client ‘snapped’ after seeing her daughter and grandchildren mistreated by her son-in-law Geoward for years.
‘This is not a case where she did this out of greed or self-interest,’ he said. ‘She did it — in her mind — to protect her family.’
He went on to ask that jurors find his client guilty of voluntary manslaughter instead of murder, telling them that the case was ‘sad’ for all involved with no winners.
But the efforts of the lawyer failed
The jurors deliberated for two days, before finding 65-year-old Cynthia Cdebaca, guilty of first-degree murder.
In March 2017, Cdebaca received 50 years to life in prison, so she’s likely to spend the rest of her life behind bars.
Before being taken to prison, Cdebaca was allowed to address the court.
‘I’m real, real sorry,’ she sobbed.
Cynthia became so overwhelmed with emotions she couldn’t speak.
Her daughter Laura also made an emotional speech following her mother’s conviction.
‘I just want to say that this is a tragedy,’ she said. ‘I love my mom and I love Geoward.’
‘I am hoping that, after today, we can move forward.’