Cops spoke with Paschall at his apartment on Sherbourne Drive, about six miles from Conaway’s home, also in Oceanside.
Police asked Paschall if he knew someone named Cindy. Paschall said, “That’s my girl.”
Paschall told cops he’d last seen Conaway weeks earlier, on Friday, January 13. He said he’d gone to her home that night and that they “got intimate.” He hadn’t spoken to her since then. Paschall said he did not have a phone.
A Modern Love Story
Paschall said that Conaway had shown him “the most love of anybody.” He had met Conaway right after he got out of prison, in 2010. (In 2005 he was convicted of kidnapping and making a “deadly threat.”) Just days after Paschall was paroled, he was walking down the main drag in Oceanside when Conaway drove up in her fabulous gold convertible and offered him a ride.
Paschall was 27 years old, six-foot-two-inches tall, and 176 pounds. Conaway was 44 years old, five-feet-five-inches tall, and 223 pounds.
At first, Paschall didn’t want to come to police headquarters to be interviewed. But eventually he agreed. The recorded conversation went on for almost three hours. Paschall’s version of things changed over the interview; for example, at first he denied taking Conaway’s Mustang. Near the end of the interview, however, he admitted taking the car. He accurately described where police had found it and remembered the number of the parking space. The parking lot where the car was recovered was between Conaway’s home and Paschall’s apartment.
At the end of the interview, Paschall was arrested for a parole violation. He was not charged with murder — yet. As of January 30, 2012, Paschall was back in custody.
What the Neighbors Saw
Neighbors told investigators they’d seen various persons coming and going from Conaway’s home during the week that her body must have been lying dead on her bed, before police found her.
A neighbor said it was early Saturday morning, January 14, and still dark outside, when an “unidentified black male” left Conaway’s home, got into the Mustang parked out front, and sped off. This same neighbor said he also saw a white male leaving Conaway’s home later the same day.
Another neighbor said there was a white pickup truck parked near Conaway’s home on January 13, 14, and 15. The pickup truck was supposedly owned by a handyman Conaway knew. Police interviewed this person and confirmed that he’d installed the deadbolt locks in Conaway’s home. He denied that his truck had been parked there for three days.
On Sunday, January 15, at about 2:00 or 3:00 p.m., a neighbor said he went to knock on Conaway’s door. The neighbor remembered the day and approximate time because it was after church. He told police he heard movements inside the home when he approached but that the noises stopped when he knocked. No one answered the door and he eventually left.
A Jailhouse Snitch
While Paschall was being held in jail on the probation violation, investigators pursued the homicide investigation.
After some weeks, the girlfriend of another inmate approached the district attorney’s office. This inmate wanted to trade information to make a deal. The inmate claimed that Paschall had blabbed about a murder. Paschall spoke abut his lover, a “transgender,” who’d become dissatisfied with him. This dissatisfied lover was the moneymaker, and she wanted Paschall to get a job; she told him he was freeloading too much. Paschall also blabbed about a scheme to make money by uploading porno videos to the internet, the snitch said.
Paschall said he’d decided to kill his lover because he would not be disrespected. Paschall “wasn’t gonna be played in such a manner.” He resented that his lover was “kicking him to the curb.” Paschall described a beating, the snitch said.
Paschall told the snitch that he preferred 10 or 12 years in Patton, a state mental hospital, instead of life in prison without parole. Paschall had a plan to “play crazy.” He smeared feces on his face and pretended to eat his own feces. According to the informant, the guards put Paschall into isolation while they awaited arrival of a jailhouse psychiatrist.
Jailhouse-snitch stories are considered unreliable because criminals will concoct fake narratives in an effort to make a bargain for themselves. But this particular snitch had one piece of information about the crime scene that was not widely known: the dog in the freezer.
Paschall had talked about putting a “very small dog” in the freezer.
Investigators found Conaway’s pet dog, a long-haired Chihuahua-mix, in her freezer. There was urine near the frozen dog’s tail. A veterinarian said this probably meant the dog had been alive when it was put into the freezer, and that it later suffocated or froze to death.
When they interviewed Paschall, police asked about Conaway’s dog. Paschall said he knew the dog and he liked the dog. He described it as “lively” and “happy-go-lucky.”
Investigators found Paschall’s DNA on drinking glasses and a water bottle in Conaway’s home. Paschall’s fingerprints were on a bottle of spray-cleaner next to her bathtub. In Paschall’s shorts’ pocket, they found a key to a bank safety-deposit box rented by Conaway.
Last month, Paschall, now 29, confessed to second-degree murder and felony animal abuse. In a plea deal, a separate case in which he’d been charged with passing forged checks and possession of stolen property was dismissed. The sentence for killing the dog will run concurrently with time given for killing Conaway.
Paschall expects to be sentenced to 20 years to life on May 2, 2013, in San Diego’s North County Superior Courthouse.