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Warrant Out for Detective With Role in Wayne Divorce

Times Staff Writer

An arrest warrant has been issued for the owner of a detective agency hired by Aissa Wayne’s ex-husband as the second suspect in a brutal assault last October against her and her boyfriend, court records show.

The warrant, filed last week in Harbor Municipal Court, seeks the arrest of O. Daniel Gal in connection with the assault on Wayne, daughter of the late actor John Wayne, and financier Roger W. Luby at Luby’s Newport Beach estate last Oct. 3.

The warrant charges Gal with criminal conspiracy, assault with a deadly weapon, assault on a person with a firearm, and using force or violence on a witness, according to court records filed with Harbor Municipal Judge Russell A. Bostrom. Jerrel L. Hintergardt, a former employee of Gal’s Los Angeles-based firm, was arrested Friday by Newport Beach police on the same warrant.

According to court documents filed Feb. 27, witnesses have told police that they saw Gal parked on the street near Luby’s walled estate on the morning of the attack.

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Hintergardt, 37, of Burbank was being held Monday in Orange County Jail in lieu of $1-million bail, police said.

Suspect Was in Europe

Law enforcement sources said the arrest warrant originally was sealed to prevent Gal from learning that he was a target of the investigation. According to court documents, Gal was in Europe during February and would tell investigators only that he was returning in about a month.

Neither Gal nor his representatives returned telephone calls left at his office in Century City.

Deputy Dist. Atty. Christopher J. Evans said the bail for Hintergardt was set high because of the seriousness of the charges and because authorities feared that he, too, would flee to Europe.

“This is a crime that is basically a contract assault,” Evans said Monday. “It is clearly a hazardous and cold kind of crime. . . . It was cold, deliberate, premeditated.”

Court records show that Gal’s firm had been hired by Pomona orthopedic surgeon Thomas A. Gionis, Aissa Wayne’s ex-husband, last year while the couple were going through an acrimonious divorce and custody fight over their now 2-year-old daughter, Anastasia.

Evans and Newport Beach police declined comment on whether Gionis was being investigated in connection with the attack, and the doctor did not return telephone calls to his office Monday.

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Gionis’ attorney, Mitchell B. Ludwig, who represented him in the custody proceedings, would not comment on Gionis’ connection with Gal or Hintergardt.

“I don’t know anything about this guy,” Ludwig said of Hintergardt, adding, “I don’t represent that (detective) firm. . . . We’re civil lawyers, not criminal lawyers.”

Court records show that Hintergardt previously worked for Gal. But he told detectives that he was an unemployed electrician, Newport Beach Police Lt. Tim Newman said. Hintergardt is scheduled to be arraigned Friday, according to a clerk at Harbor Municipal Court.

Wayne, 32, and Luby, 52, have told authorities that two men jumped out at them in Luby’s garage as the couple were returning from an aerobics class about noon on Oct. 3. They said the men bound them hand and foot, pistol-whipped them and told them, “You’re (messing) with the wrong people. If you screw up again, you’re dead.”

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Wayne, reached Monday at her home in Corona del Mar, said she is relieved that there is progress on the case but said she is troubled by why it might have happened.

She would not say if she has been in touch with her ex-husband to talk about their daughter or to ask about his connection with Gal.

“Could you ask me that in a couple of days,” she said. “We don’t know all the facts. And secondly, it would just be very hard . . . it was just a shocking thing to think that the father of your child would order something like this, an assault, if he did do it.”

Last month, a judge in Orange County Superior Court awarded custody of the couple’s daughter to Gionis, after calling Wayne “immature emotionally.”

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Wayne said that her daughter’s custody order is not final yet and that her attorney has requested an explanation from the judge on his finding.

Pilar Wayne, the late actor’s widow, said the last few months have been difficult for her daughter.

“As the mother of the victim, naturally I’m happy and relieved that the Newport Beach police have one of the assailants (suspected of doing) this horrible thing to my daughter.”

“Our family has suffered a lot of mental anguish,” she said. “Aissa has shown she certainly has a little bit of true grit in her.”

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Luby, who said he and Aissa are now just “good friends,” said he also was relieved to learn of Hintergardt’s arrest so many weeks after the assault took place.

But he declined to say who he thinks is responsible for the contract to attack Wayne and himself.

“I have my own clear-cut views, but I wouldn’t dare say anything,” he said from a health spa in San Diego, where he has been for the last 2 weeks. “It’s slanderous.”

Initially, police said they investigated Luby’s business ties, looking into a lawsuit he filed against a group of lenders who, he said, had reneged on their obligations and sent him into bankruptcy. That case, Luby said, will go to trial next month.

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Luby discounted any connection between the attack and his own financial or legal problems. “I never, never dreamed that it was from any of my side of the fence at all. Period.”

Luby said he is over the fear he felt just after the attack, but he still worries about what motivated his assailants.

“There was a contract hit on us,” he said. “Somebody, whoever that somebody is, paid for a contract to go out and do something to Aissa and me.”


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