Cynthia Cdebaca shot her son-in-law 15 times, then celebrated his death in front of the police…
On the morning of 11 February 2014, Geoward Eustaquio was carrying a basket of laundry when his mother-in-law Cynthia Cdebaca suddenly opened fire. He tried to crawl to safety but the shots justkept coming. Geoward didn’t stand a chance…
When Cynthia Cdebaca suffered a stroke, her daughter Laura Salinas agreed to let her move into a granny flat attached to the home she shared with her husband Geoward Eustaquio.
It would let Laura nurse her mum back to health.
But inside the extravagant home in an upscale area of Fallbrook, California, the scene was far from happy families.
The relationship between Laura and her husband was strained at best – and Cynthia witnessed their arguments first-hand.
According to Laura, Geoward was physically and verbally abusive.
He broke their teenage son’s electronics in his temper, and sprayed family members with water if they misbehaved.
Cynthia couldn’t stand to see her daughter hurt like that, and her dislike for Geoward slowly turned to hate.
Particularly after he threw out the urn of her late husband’s ashes.
Cynthia saw only one solution – Geoward had to die…
So she went to a local gun shop and bought a revolver and ammunition.
All she needed was something to make her pull the trigger – and she didn’t have to wait long…
Two weeks later, Cynthia came down for 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,”’ she said.
Seeing red, Cynthia went to her granny flat to get the gun.
She calmly loaded the revolver and, as Geoward carried a basket of laundry across the patio, she began shooting. When the gun was empty, Cynthia went for more ammunition.
Wounded Geoward managed to crawl inside his home and lock the door.
But that didn’t stop Cynthia, who returned shortly afterwards.
With the gun reloaded, she 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.
In total, 15 shots were fired. Three hit the kitchen door, but the rest struck Geoward – mostly in the torso.
As he lay dying, Cynthia made her way to a local cafe and casually ordered bacon and eggs.
Once she’d eaten breakfast, she headed to a casino where she gambled for around two hours. Afterwards, she went for a coffee.
It was there that she was arrested by police.
But it was perhaps only once she was in custody that she behaved most bizarrely of all.
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.
Then, when officers informed Cynthia that Geoward was dead, she waved her arms in the air and cheered.
‘Oh good, good, good,’ she said, smiling.
She 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 describing how Geoward abused her family.
‘[He was] so mean to me, to all of them,’ she said. ‘They were afraid of him, yes. So mean to my daughter. I told her 13 years ago, he’s evil,’ she said.
After her interview, Cynthia was given the chance to say goodbye to her family before being led off to jail.
Most of them hugged the elderly lady, but Cynthia’s youngest granddaughter pushed her away.
‘No, you killed my dad,’ she told her.
Then, at court, Cynthia’s daughter Laura – wife of 53-year-old Geoward – testified in her mother’s defence.
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 jury didn’t buy it.
They deliberated for two long days – before finding Cynthia Cdebaca, 65, guilty of first-degree murder.
In March this year, Cdebaca received 50 years to life in prison, so she’s likely to spend the rest of her life behind bars.
Before being led away, she had the opportunity to address the court.
‘I’m real, real sorry,’ she sobbed.
But before she could continue, she became overwhelmed with emotion.
Her daughter Laura also made a tearful 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.’