SAN MARCOS — A guilty verdict of premeditated attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon was reached Sept. 16 in the jury trial of actor Shelley Malil, 45, who was accused of a brutal stabbing of his ex-girlfriend in her San Marcos home two years ago that left her nearly dead.
Malil, who played a comedic role of a store clerk in “The 40 Year Old Virgin,” was acquitted of a burglary charge.
Deliberations began Sept. 15 after more than three weeks of court testimony.
The next day a juror was replaced by Judge Harry Elias in the afternoon, but the reconstituted jury came to a decision in only a few hours.
Malil faces 14 years to life in prison, according to Prosecutor Keith Watanabe.
The maximum sentence for the charges is 14 years to life, he said, and added that the minimum is as low as seven years to life.
Malil’s sentencing is set for Nov. 18.
Watanabe said during a telephone interview on Sept. 20 that he was very pleased with the guilty verdict.
“His decision to testify was a bad one,” he said of Malil. “He might as well have jumped into a coffin and nailed it shut.”
According to reports, testimony revealed that Malil had met Kendra Beebe, a mother of two who was 36 at the time, through the Internet and the two had dated sporadically for one year before the August 2008 attack.
Malil is accused of driving from Los Angeles to Beebe’s house and attacking her in back-to-back attacks with a knife while she was in the backyard with a male companion.
Watanabe said that it was a miracle Beebe survived being stabbed 23 times.
“This case you would expect to result in a homicide,” he said.
A doctor’s testimony said that if the knife had gone in a millimeter more, in various places on Beebe’s body, it would have killed her, Watanabe said.
He said the jury was smart and logical and that Malil’s testimony was ridiculous and unbelievable.
Malil took the stand because it was his only real way to tell his story of self-defense, Watanabe said.
“The idea he needed to stab someone 23 times in self-defense is ridiculous,” he said.
Malil testified that he did slashing motions with the knife, in the dark, to whoever was attacking him, Watanabe said.
According to a release, Defense attorney Matthew Roberts told the jury in his closing argument that Malil didn’t premeditate the act but instead “overreacted” and believed he was acting in self-defense.