Actor accused in stabbing says he was defending himself - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Actor accused of stabbing ex-girlfriend says he was defending himself

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VISTA (CNS) - A character actor accused of trying to kill his girlfriend in the backyard of her San Marcos home testified Monday that he swung a butcher knife in the dark after being attacked on the side of the residence.

Shelley Malil, 45, is charged with premeditated attempted murder in the Aug. 10, 2008, attack on Kendra Beebe, who was stabbed more than 20 times. Beebe, a mother of two, suffered life-threatening wounds, including a collapsed lung, prosecutors said.

On cross-examination, Malil testified that he went to Beebe's home that night to apologize for leaving her and her cousin at the beach the night before, stealing her vibrators and some marijuana from her home and e-mailing nude photos of them having sex to her co-workers.

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 - said he arrived to Beebe's dark home to find a sliding-glass door open and located Beebe sitting in the backyard with a man he didn't know, with two glasses of wine poured. The man was identified as David Maldonado.

Malil said he approached Beebe and accidentally stepped on her toe, and she screamed.

"It jolted me," Malil said. "I didn't expect her to scream."

Malil said he fell onto a table and heard Maldonado's chair move, so he grabbed a steak knife that was in the table's empty umbrella well, thinking he could ward Maldonado off if he was planning an attack.

The men struggled over the steak knife and it ended up being thrown over the fence, Malil said.

The actor said he saw Maldonado go his car and reach for something, which he figured was a gun.

"My initial concern was, he was going to re-arm himself," the defendant told the jury. "I'm thinking, oh my God, he's going to kill me."

Malil said he tried to call 911 from Beebe's phone, but it was dead. The defendant said he grabbed the butcher knife from the kitchen.

The defendant said he went to the side of the house and looked through two windows to see if Maldonado was returning.

As he listened for the sound of Maldonado's boots, Malil said he was hit in the head from behind with what felt like a "granite block."

"I was startled," Malil said, wondering how his attacker got around to the side of the house so quickly.

Malil said he fell down and got hit again and put his hands up to defend himself, still holding the butcher knife.

"I was freaking out," the defendant said. "My hands were moving 100 miles per hour. I was poking and swinging as hard as I could. I wasn't aiming for anything. I was hoping to find space between me and who was attacking me."

Malil said the person he was fighting never screamed or said anything, and he didn't realize it was Beebe until he heard a woman tell someone to call 911.

"I knew it was Kendra at that moment," Malil testified.

Malil said he got up and saw a bloodied Beebe lying on a couch but didn't realize how badly she was injured.

A neighbor arrived and told Malil to put the knife down, and Malil got in his car and drove back to his home in Sherman Oaks.

"I was panicked by the whole situation," Malil testified. "I was in a complete state of shock."

He was arrested the next day as he made his way down to San Diego on the train to turn himself in.

Deputy District Attorney Keith Watanabe told the jury that Malil initially stabbed Beebe with the steak knife when he hugged her and continued stabbing the now 38-year-old victim with the butcher knife.

Defense attorney Matthew Roberts said Beebe has a history of violence and her behavior that evening was consistent with past conduct.

Malil -- who is also charged with burglary and assault with a deadly weapon -- faces 21 years to life if convicted, the Watanabe said.

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