An actor who appeared alongside Steve Carell in the 2005 box office comedy The 40-Year-Old Virgin has been convicted of the attempted premeditated murder of his ex-girlfriend in a knife attack two years ago.
On Thursday, 12 San Diego County jurors also found Shelley Malil guilty of assault with a deadly weapon for stabbing Kendra Beebe more than 20 times during a violent quarrel at her San Marcos home in 2008. He was acquitted of residential burglary.
Beebe, 37, hugged her best childhood friend, who stood beside her at Vista Superior Court, where the judge read the verdict.
“I feel a sense of relief, but I have to be honest there is never a win in a situation like this,” Beebe — who still wears the scars of the vicious attack — told reporters after the verdict was handed down. “I was afraid because he was an actor that the people might believe his bad theatrics. I am pleased to see the justice system did its job properly.”
Malil testified during the trial that he was protecting himself after he was attacked.
“Someone was hitting me with something, and all I had was this knife, and I just went bananas with the thing,” Malil testified. “And Kendra kept saying, ‘Ali, call 911,’ and that was the first time I realized that it was Kendra that I was fighting with.”
At the time of the stabbing, Beebe was sitting outside, having a glass of wine with friend David Maldonado. During the trial, Beebe sat through several days of emotional testimony.
“I thought, ‘Oh my God, he’s going to hug me,’ and then I thought, ‘Oh, no, he’s going to punch me,’ and then I see this flash of silver and bang, bang, bang,” Beebe testified through tears. “It was just, like, not real.”
She said her body is covered in scars, but is grateful to be able to return to her favorite sport, surfing.
Defense attorney Matthew Roberts argued that while Malil went too far when he picked up the kitchen knife after finding Beebe on her patio with another man, he never intended to kill his girlfriend. He said the two had a tumultuous relationship and described her as a violent drama queen who manipulated men and tried to make them jealous.
Deputy District Attorney Keith Watanabe countered that Malil, 45, brought the knife to the home and did not grab it in the heat of the moment. He showed jurors photographs of deep wounds on the victim’s face, neck and torso and told them they did not have to determine a motive.
“We had a smart, intelligent jury, and they reached the right verdict,” Watanabe told The Associated Press following the verdict. “There was a mountain of evidence that he was guilty. He certainly won’t be winning an Oscar for his performance in the courtroom. The jury did not believe his story.”
Malil faces 16 years to life when he is sentenced next month.