Mistakes happen. According to 40-Year-Old Virgin actor Shelley Malil, so do brutal, repeat stabbings of your girlfriend.
While testifying in a Vista, Calif., courtroom yesterday, the 45-year-old admitted to stabbing his girlfriend roughly 20 times, but insisting that he didn't realize it was her and only went on the attack because he thought she was about to do the same to him.
"I'm sorry," Malil said on the stand. "I had no idea. I saw the pictures [of the stab wounds] for the first time, I was stunned. When I look at those pictures, I still can't believe the knife I was holding was responsible for all those injuries."
So how did the tragedy unfold? According to Malil, he went to visit 38-year-old girlfriend Kendra Beebe at her San Diego area home back on Aug. 10, 2008.
"It wasn't my intention of killing anybody or hurting anybody," he said of that night.
Malil was murky on details, but said that "chaos" broke out when he arrived and saw his then girlfriend drinking wine with a pal of hers. He says he felt threatened and believed, for some reason, that the pal, David Maldonado, wanted to attack him.
(Malil said that when he first got there, he leaned in to whisper to his girlfriend and accidentally stepped on her foot. She screamed, Maldonado stood up, and thus Malil's feelings of being threatened began.)
Due to his uneasiness, Malil immediately grabbed a knife off the table, even though Maldonado had no weapons on him at the time. A brief scuffle broke out over possession of the knife, and Maldonado then ran into the house. Malil says that he thought the man was going to his car to retrieve a gun, and headed into the kitchen in order to call 911. The phone was dead, so he upgraded to a butcher knife he found, and followed Maldonado outside.
Once back out in the dark, Malil said he was hit in the back of his head with something that "felt like cold granite countertop."
Instinctively, he claims, he began slashing and stabbing his attacker in order to defend himself, all the while thinking it was Maldonado he was resisting.
"It was going crazy," he said. "It seemed like it was going for a minute."
It was sometime at that minute-mark, then, that Beebe managed to cry out, "Call 911!" and Malil realized it was his girlfriend that he had been so brutally assaulting. (In Beebe's testimony, she claimed he flew into a rage and attacked her, only stopping when a neighbor somehow intervened.)
"That's the first time I look and see it's Kendra I'm fighting with," he said.
The trial will continue through next week, with cross-examination set to begin on Monday.
Malil has pleaded not guilty to charges of premeditated attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon and residential burglary. If convicted, he faces anywhere from 21 years to life in prison.
Check out more celebs in hot water in our Mug-Shot Mania gallery.