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San Jose ‘Chili Finger’ Woman Back In Jail For Lying To Police To Protect Son

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Anna Ayala (Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office)

Anna Ayala (Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office)

ALVISO (CBS SF) — The woman famous for pretending to find a human finger in bowl of chili at a San Jose Wendy’s in 2005 was charged Friday in Santa Clara County Superior Court with falsely accusing someone of shooting her son in the leg.

Anna Delia Ayala, 47, was arraigned on charges of being an accessory to a felony crime, a felony, and a making a false police report, a misdemeanor, Deputy District Attorney Bret Wasley said.

Her son, Guadalupe “Junior” Reyes, 26, was charged with being a felon possessing a firearm, Wasley said.

Ayala and Reyes are alleged to have accused a person in the northern San Jose community of Alviso of firing a shot that wounded Reyes in the leg on Oct. 21, Wasley said.

Wasley asked Santa Clara County Judge Philip Pennypacker to set a high bail amount for both, arguing that Ayala posed a flight risk.

Ayala, he said, fled to Las Vegas in 2005 after trying to pull a scam about finding a finger in some chili at a Wendy’s eatery in San Jose, then had to be arrested in Nevada and brought back.

Pennypacker, saying that Ayala was not a current resident of Santa Clara County and based on her prior flight from the county in 2005, agreed to set bail at $150,000 for Ayala and the same amount for her son.

Ayala, convicted in Santa Clara County in 2006 for conspiring with her husband, Jaime Plascencia, to use the phony chili story to sue the Wendy’s chain, was released in 2010 after serving four years of a nine-year sentence.

She later admitted that while living in Las Vegas in 2005 she cooked inside a batch of chili a finger her husband’s co-worker had lost in an accident.

She said she froze the chili and drove it to the Wendy’s in San Jose that year. Her story about the finger attracted enormous media attention.

During their brief appearances Friday, Reyes entered first, using crutches, and Ayala, with long curly hair and dressed in peach-colored jail clothes, stepped into court back first to avoid having to face the audience and a line of TV cameras.

Outside court, Wasley said that Ayala had reported to San Jose police last year the street name of a person she claimed shot her son, but officers were unable to locate the person.

Police looked into it further and determined that both made up the story to avoid having to explain why Reyes, a convicted felon, illegally possessed a gun, Wasley said.

“Reyes shot himself in the leg,” Wasley said. “I don’t know how or why he shot himself in the leg.”

San Jose police arrested the pair on Thursday at the California Corrections Department Parole Division office at 909 Coleman Ave. in San Jose, Wasley said.

Both defendants are due back to offer pleas on March 1.

If convicted, Ayala could face four years in prison and her son four years and eight months, Wasley said.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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