Judge: North County grandmother competent to stand trial for murder

SAN DIEGO - Cynthia Cdebaca was still joking and smiling after a judge ruled she was competent enough to face her murder charge.

Cdebaca, 64, appeared at a mental competency hearing in San Diego County Superior Court Wednesday morning.

She is accused of shooting her son-in-law, 53-year-old Gerard Eustaquio, 15 times on Feb. 12, 2014, in Fallbrook after he reportedly made a comment about an outfit she was wearing.

Prosecutors allege that after the shooting the grandmother dumped her gun in a drainage ditch, went to a nearby Denny’s for breakfast, gambled at Pechangah Casino, went to a liquor store for cigarettes and even stopped by her favorite coffee shop.

Cdebaca was evaluated by a doctor, whose report stated that she is mentally capable of handling the next step in this murder case.

Prosecutors allege Cdebaca gunned down Eustaquio on her 63rd birthday in the Peppertree Park development, which consists of about 225 houses.

A 911 caller reported hearing someone shouting and what sounded like gunshots from inside a home in the 600 block of Braemar Terrace at about 8 a.m. Getting no response at the door, deputies entered and found Eustaquio's body.

Cdebaca and Eustaquio were believed to be the only ones in the home when the shooting occurred. Cdebaca lived with Eustaquio, his wife, their two children. A teenager from another marriage also stayed there at times.

Court documents allege that Eustaquio made a comment to her about what she was wearing. In response to the comment, Cdebaca went to her flat adjacent to the home and retrieved a .38-caliber, five-shot revolver that she had purchased about two weeks earlier, according to documents. She then allegedly returned and shot him several times, reloading the gun multiple times.

After the killing, court documents state that Cdebaca went to breakfast at Denny's, stopped at a casino to gamble, went to a liquor store for cigarettes and then ended her day at her favorite coffee shop.

It was at the coffee shop where sheriff's deputies caught up with Cdebaca and took her in for questioning.

Investigators say she told them that her son-in-law was often violent with his wife and children and that she was happy he was dead. Cdebaca told detectives that she didn't like the victim and that "if he were here, I would kill him again," the document stated.

There were no documented cases of domestic violence involving the family.

According to an online job resume, Eustaquio worked as a "space orbital analyst" for the California Air National Guard.

Cdebaca is currently being held on a $5 million bail. Her preliminary hearing has been scheduled for next month.

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