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Mall Owner to Stand Trial in Hammer-Hurling Case

Times Staff Writer

A Tarzana shopping center owner accused of throwing a hammer at a 51-year-old Whittier woman who parked her car partially in a handicapped zone was ordered Thursday to stand trial for assault with a deadly weapon.

Robert Alan Wall, 49, of Van Nuys hurled the hammer through the window of Marilynn Packer’s car and began hitting her on the face, head and neck with his fist after blocking her car with his Mercedes Benz, Deputy Dist. Atty. Andrew W. Diamond said.

Glass splinters lodged in Packer’s eye and she lost several teeth and suffered broken cheekbones because of the May 28 attack at the Wall Street Plaza, 18633 Ventura Blvd., Diamond said.

After a preliminary hearing, Van Nuys Municipal Judge Aviva K. Bobb dismissed a second charge of false imprisonment against Wall. Wall’s attorney, Richard S. Plotin, argued that Packer was free to leave her blocked car before the alleged attack. Diamond said he will seek to reinstate the charge.

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Nov. 10 Hearing

Bobb scheduled Wall’s arraignment for Nov. 10 in Van Nuys Superior Court.

Plotin contended that Wall was trying to make a citizen’s arrest and keep Packer from escaping after Packer hit a security guard with her car. Packer, a U.S. Customs Department secretary, denies that she hit the security guard.

Packer testified that she came to the San Fernando Valley to try a different hair salon, but realized that she had lost her directions. She stopped at Wall’s shopping center to call directory assistance for the salon’s address, she said.

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Noting that Packer had parked her car a few inches into the handicapped parking spot, a parking lot security guard asked her to move her car, Packer testified. She said she responded that she would be back in a few minutes, and hurried off to make the call.

When she got back, she said, her car was blocked by Wall’s Mercedes and Wall told her he had called for a tow truck. Packer said she turned on her car alarm, hoping to get Wall to move the car. When he failed to do so after 15 minutes, she called police.

Dozen Witnesses

When another car left an adjacent space, Packer tried to maneuver her car around the Mercedes and leave the parking lot. Wall ran up and threw a hammer through her car window, puncturing her cheek, she said. He then struck her repeatedly with his fist, she added.

Diamond said Wall was restrained by two of more than a dozen witnesses and was arrested by Los Angeles police.

Packer, who plays violin with the La Mirada Symphony Orchestra in her spare time, said after the hearing that she is still traumatized by the incident.

“I’m looking at losing all my top teeth,” she said, adding that she also suffers from recurrent numbness in her cheek and tongue. She said she has been forced to see a speech therapist and a psychologist because of the attack.


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