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Woman Is Acquitted in Road Rage Shooting

Trial: Jurors find she acted in self-defense when she wounded a man during argument on Panorama City street.

September 26, 2002|JEAN GUCCIONE | TIMES STAFF WRITER

A 36-year-old mother accused of shooting a man in the head was acquitted Wednesday on all criminal charges after jurors found she acted in self-defense.

The jury of nine women and three men deliberated for half a day before finding Oreyda Paramo not guilty of attempted murder, two counts of assault with a semiautomatic firearm and shooting into an occupied vehicle.

Paramo hugged her attorneys in the courtroom and was later reunited with her fiance, Anthony Domio, and 11-year-old son outside the Van Nuys Courthouse.

Paramo has been held at Twin Towers Correctional Facility in lieu of $500,000 bail since her Feb. 13 arrest. Domio said Paramo believed she was innocent and wanted to try to prove it at trial--a decision that one of her lawyers said was courageous.

"It was really the strong will of [Paramo]," attorney James McNamara said. "I don't know if I would have done it."

At trial, defense lawyers called a witness who testified that he saw the victim, Edwin Saltorrez, 37, of New York brandish a gun. Police, however, did not find a weapon in his vehicle.

Authorities said Saltorrez's sister, Emma Rodriguez, was trying to pass Paramo, who was double-parked on Willis Street in Panorama City. There was a heated exchange between the women drivers, and a few blocks away on Parthenia Street, Paramo shot Saltorrez. He was not seriously wounded.

Attorney Omar Bakari said the witness got Paramo's license plate number and wrote her a letter offering to help. "This is a good reason why people should get involved," he said. Otherwise, Paramo, a first-time offender, faced life in prison.

Deputy Dist. Atty. Paul Bronstein said he doesn't believe this is a case of self-defense. "To me, an argument on the street like that should not be enough to provoke a gun being exhibited or a gunshot," he said.

When Paramo gets home, Domio said, he will "take her away and let her have a couple of days to herself." He said Paramo, who lost 66 pounds while incarcerated, also lost her business and her life savings paying for her lawyers.

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