Prosecutor: Actor tried to kill girlfriend; he claims self-defense - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Prosecutor: Actor tried to kill on-and-off girlfriend; he claims self-defense

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VISTA (CNS) - A character actor tried to kill his on-and-off girlfriend by repeatedly stabbing her in the backyard of her San Marcos home, a prosecutor said Monday, but a defense attorney said his client did not plan the attack and acted in self-defense.

Shelley Malil, 45, is charged with premeditated attempted murder in the Aug. 10, 2008, attack on Kendra Beebe, who was 35 at the time.

In his opening statement, Deputy District Attorney Keith Watanabe said Malil showed up at Beebe's home about 8:30 p.m. and began stabbing her with a steak knife as she and a male friend began to relax and drink red wine.

The friend, David Maldonado, thought at first that Malil was hugging Beebe, but soon realized she had been stabbed and wrested the knife away from

Malil and threw it over a fence, Watanabe said.

Maldonado, who cut his hand on the weapon, ran to dial 911, but Malil grabbed a second weapon -- a butcher knife from the kitchen and continued stabbing Beebe, the prosecutor said.

"In this courtroom sits a man who made a decision to kill another human being," Watanabe told the jury.

The prosecutor said Beebe met Malil -- best known for being one of the "What are YOU doing?" guys in Anheuser-Busch's spin-off of its "Whassup?" Super Bowl commercials -- about a year earlier through an online dating site, and they went out on dates in Los Angeles and San Diego.

Watanabe said Beebe was concerned about Malil's obsessive and controlling behavior and his problem with alcohol.

The day before the attack, Malil joined Beebe and her cousin to learn how to surf, but became angry and frustrated, drove off in Beebe's car and left them stranded at the beach, Watanabe said.

Once home, Beebe discovered that Malil had taken some of her things and locked the doors, so she had to break in, the prosecutor said.


That night, Malil e-mailed a series of photos to Beebe's employees, showing her nude and having sex with him, according to the prosecutor.

The prosecutor said a "lovely summer evening" turned into the victim's "worst nightmare" when the single mother of two was stabbed more than 20 times. She suffered life-threatening wounds, including a collapsed lung, Watanabe said, adding that several of the stab wounds narrowly missed major arteries.

Malil chased Beebe through the house and she collapsed on the front porch, the prosecutor said.

A neighbor heard the victim's screams for help, and he got Malil to drop the butcher knife, Watanabe said.

Malil claimed self-defense, heard the emergency sirens approaching and fled, the prosecutor said. Before running away, Malil told the neighbor that Beebe had AIDS and she had given it to him because they had sex, the prosecutor said.


A subsequent search of Malil's apartment in Sherman Oaks turned up a set of steak knives just like the one used to initially stab Beebe, the prosecutor said.

"This is nothing more than a violent, premeditated attack on a woman who pissed off Shelley Malil," Watanabe told the jury.

Defense attorney Matthew Roberts said Beebe had a history of violence and "fights with about everybody." Her behavior the night of the stabbing attack was consistent with prior behavior, he said.

Malil, on the other hand, had no history of violence, his attorney told the jury in his opening statement.

Malil -- who was born in India -- was made fun of when his family moved to west Texas and won people over by making them laugh, Roberts said.

The defendant, who was divorced, in 2007 answered an ad placed by Beebe, who described herself as a "conservative" woman looking for companionship, the defense attorney said.

Roberts said Beebe was entrenched in a "battle royale" with her ex-husband and was obsessed with getting him deported. Consequently, Malil and Beebe had a "chaotic relationship," his attorney said.

Regarding the steak knife, Malil saw it in an area where Beebe's son played and picked it up earlier in that fateful weekend, Roberts said, telling jurors that Beebe's DNA was not found on the knife.

Beebe had been keeping Malil around so he would "stay on her side" and testify against her ex-husband, Roberts said.

The night before the stabbing attack, Malil got drunk and had the "brilliant idea" of sending the nude pictures of Beebe to her workplace, Roberts said.

Malil was "ashamed and sorry" for what he did and tried to tell Beebe, but she would not return his calls, so he got in his car and drove to San Marcos, his attorney said.

When he got into Beebe's backyard, Maldonado jumped up and scared Malil, and the two men struggled over the knife, Roberts said.

Malil then followed Maldonado out the front door, and started to "freak out" when he saw the man retrieve something from his car, which turned out to be a cell phone, the attorney said.

"He thinks the guy's got a weapon," Roberts told the jury. "The adrenaline is through the roof."

Malil grabbed the butcher knife from the kitchen and wanted to leave through a side gate, where Beebe had collapsed in the dark, Roberts said.

Beebe began hitting Malil with a garden hoe and he began flailing at his attacker with the knife, Roberts said.

"He starts slashing wildly," the attorney said. "He's trying to defend himself."

Roberts said most of Beebe's wounds were lacerations, consistent with Malil flailing with the knife.

"He was under attack, as well," Roberts told the jury.

Once Malil realized it was Beebe who was swinging at him, he never laid another hand on her, Roberts said.

"If he wanted to kill her, he could have done it right there," the attorney said.

The next day, Malil was on his way to San Diego to turn himself in when he was arrested getting off a train, Roberts said.

The defense attorney said Beebe is convinced that her ex-husband hired Malil to kill her.

The case against Malil, who had a role in the movie "The 40-Year-Old Virgin," was not simply a "he-said, she-said," Roberts said.

"His actions don't indicate any kind of planning," Roberts said. "His actions don't indicate any type of deliberation."

Malil -- who also is charged with burglary and assault with a deadly weapon --- could face life in prison if convicted, according to prosecutors.

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