Photo via Wikimedia Commons
Photo via Wikimedia Commons

A 72-year-old woman was convicted of first-degree murder Thursday for gunning down her 96-year-old mother in their Rossmoor home.

Jurors deliberated for about 3 1/2 hours before convicting Christine Marie Reynolds. The jurors also found true a sentencing enhancement allegation of personal discharge of a gun causing death.

Reynolds, who was scheduled to be sentenced Dec. 18, faced 50 years to life in prison. Reynolds told her attorney Adam Vining, she wished to be sentenced as soon as possible.

“She’d like to be sentenced now,” Vining told Donahue, who postponed sentencing so there would be time for the probation department to prepare a report.

Vining argued that his client was too drunk to be conscious of what was happening and that the shooting was an accident. Jurors were allowed to consider second-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter.

It was unclear what specifically prompted the shooting, Senior Deputy District Attorney Keith Burke said. The two had long had a contentious relationship, her siblings testified.

While in custody in the first hours following the Aug. 28 shooting, Reynolds complained of general grievances she had with her mother, Gretchen DeStefano, over the years, Burke said.

DeStefano was on the phone with her niece at the time of the shooting, Burke said. Reynolds went out to her car, retrieved a 9 mm gun from the trunk, returned to the room where her mother was on the phone and shot her in the head, Burke said.

DeStefano said something akin to “You don’t have to do this” just before the shooting, Burke said.

The defendant’s brother, who was elsewhere in the house during the shooting, testified when he saw his sister holding the gun moments after the shots rang out, she said, “I shot the (expletive),” according to Burke.

The defendant, who accused the prosecutor of lying in an outburst at the onset of closing arguments, testified that she bought the gun in 2011 because she intended to take her own life, Burke said.

Reynolds, who was a chronic drinker, had a blood-alcohol level of .09 five hours after the shooting, Burke said. Experts indicated her actual blood- alcohol level at the time of the shooting was between .18 to .24, Burke added.

— Wire reports 

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