Chili-Finger Lady Returns to Prison for Lying to Police About Shooting

Image: Chili-Finger Lady Returns to Prison for Lying to Police About Shooting 2006 photo of Anna Ayala in Santa Clara County Superior Court in San Jose, Calif.

Wednesday, 05 Jun 2013 02:54 PM

By Michael Mullins

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The Chili-finger lady, Anna Ayala, is headed back to prison for telling another tall tale, this time to police, having misled authorities with regards to the accidental shooting of her 26-year-old son.

Ayala, who gained national attention in 2005 for having claimed to discover a severed finger in a bowl of Wendy's chili which she herself had planted, told police shortly after the shooting last October that her son, Guadalupe "Junior" Reyes, had been shot by two men.

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In reality, Reyes shot himself in the ankle with a gun. When the accidental shooting occurred, Reyes was on parole for a felony burglary conviction.

The shooting was a violation of his parole and resulted in him being charged with a felony possession of a firearm. Ayala, for her part in the scheme, was charged with the same offense, as well as filing a false police report, and being an accessory to a felony.

The pair had initially blamed two men in the community they did not like, reported.

Both mother and son were sentenced in September to two years in prison and are currently locked up in Santa Clara County jail, where they were being held on $150,000 bail.

Earlier this week, the pair pled no contest under a deal offered by Superior Court Judge Phil Pennypacker.

The judge could have sentenced Ayala to four years and eight months, but considering the early guilty plea and the fact that the trail would likely have led to a media circus, opted instead for the lighter sentence, reports.

Prosecutors were disappointed by the judge's decision.

"I understand where the judge is coming from, but I respectfully disagree,'' prosecutor Bret Wasley told reporters. "Four years would have been reasonable since she has a history of manipulating the system.''

The gun involved in the shooting has still not been recovered.

According to prosecutors, it was the son, not his mother, who cracked under questioning by police.

In contrast, the mother initially provided compelling detail in the false story she gave police, say prosecutors.

"He basically gave her up,'' Wasley added.

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In 2005, Ayala gained national attention for planting a severed finger in a bowl of Wendy's chili and claiming to have found it in the hopes of suing the fast food chain.

The scheme reportedly cost Wendy's millions in business and led to the 47-year-old San Jose woman being initially sentenced to nine years in prison.

The term was later reduced on appeal to four years due to a technical sentencing error.

Related stories:

People Living Near Fast-Food Restaurants Are Fatter: Study

Americans Get 11% of Calories from Fast Food

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