Actor found guilty in attempted murder of ex-girlfriend - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Actor found guilty in attempted murder of ex-girlfriend

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VISTA (CNS) - A character actor was convicted Thursday of premeditated attempted murder and assault for stabbing his girlfriend more than 20 times after showing up in the backyard of her San Marcos home two years ago.

Shelley Malil -- who played an electronics store clerk in "The 40-Year-Old Virgin" -- was acquitted of a burglary charge.

Deliberations began Wednesday afternoon, but Judge Harry Elias replaced a juror at midday Thursday, and the reconstituted jury reached a verdict in just a few hours.

Malil, 45, faces 14 years to life in prison. Sentencing is set for Nov. 18.

In his closing argument on Tuesday, prosecutor Keith Watanabe told the jury that there was overwhelming evidence that the defendant tried to kill Kendra Beebe.

Watanabe said Malil initially stabbed Beebe with a steak knife he brought from home and continued stabbing the victim on the side of the house with a butcher knife.

Malil's defense team portrayed Beebe, 38, as having a history of violence and lacking credibility because she lied under oath at a family court deposition.

But Watanabe said the woman was telling the truth when she said Malil attacked her the night of Aug. 10, 2008.

Defense attorney Matthew Roberts, in his closing argument, told the jury that Malil did not premeditate but instead "overreacted" and believed he was acting in self-defense.

Malil, who lives in Sherman Oaks, testified Monday that he went to Beebe's home that night to apologize for leaving her and her cousin at the beach the night before, stealing personal items and some marijuana from her home and e-mailing nude photos of them to her co-workers.

Malil said he arrived at Beebe's 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.

Malil said he fell onto a table and heard Maldonado's chair move, so he grabbed the 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 to his car and reach for something, which he figured was a gun. Malil said he tried to call 911 from Beebe's phone, but it was dead, so he grabbed the butcher knife from the kitchen.

He 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."

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.

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.

Malil -- who was one of the "What are YOU doing? guys in Anheuser-Busch's spin-off of its "Whassup?" Super Bowl commercials -- was arrested the next day as he made his way down to San Diego on the train to turn himself in.

According to court testimony, Malil and Beebe dated on-and-off for about a year after meeting through an Internet dating site.

 

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