An Encino man was charged Wednesday with elder abuse and other crimes for allegedly choking his 79-year-old mother and beating her with a broomstick after she went outside their home to pick up their mail, authorities said.
Michael William Hildner, 46, pleaded not guilty to five misdemeanor charges and was being held in lieu of $15,000 bail following his arraignment before Van Nuys Municipal Court Judge Alan Ellis.
Hildner is charged with two counts of elder abuse and one count each of assault with a deadly weapon, battery and false imprisonment. If convicted on all five charges, he could face a five-year sentence and $13,000 in fines.
His trial is set for Oct. 9 in Van Nuys Municipal Court.
Hildner was arrested Tuesday at the house he shares with his mother, May F. Robinson, in the 17500 block of Collins Street near Encino Avenue. The arrest was made after Robinson reported the beating to a victim assistance worker at City Atty. James K. Hahn's Van Nuys office, said Deputy City Atty. Marty Vranicar.
Robinson told authorities that her son choked her, struck her four times in the face with the broomstick and knocked her to the floor.
"The victim told police that her son became angry when she walked onto the front porch to get the mail," Hahn said in a written statement. "Fearing his wrath, she came back inside the house, but he began choking her and then grabbed a broomstick from the kitchen and began beating her."
After the altercation with her son, Robinson got in her car and drove around searching for help, eventually ending up at the city attorney's office, authorities said. She filed a criminal complaint against her son after being treated for numerous bruises on her face, hands and arms at Valley Presbyterian Hospital in Van Nuys.
"To see this elderly woman all beaten up was just terrible. I work with victims all the time and this is the worst thing I've ever seen," said Tammie Fagan, a victim assistance coordinator.
Investigators said they do not know why Hildner was upset with his mother, but Vranicar said he had attempted to restrict her movements and prevent her from speaking with neighbors.
"He told her that he didn't want her outside the house," Vranicar said.
Attempts to reach Hildner's attorney, David D. Marsh of the Los Angeles Public Defender's Office, were unsuccessful.
Robinson told investigators that her son had beaten her on other occasions. But she had reported only one other incident to authorities, Vranicar said. That incident occurred earlier this month in Kern County.
Hildner faces two counts of assault and battery in connection with the Sept. 6 incident that occurred while Hildner and her mother were visiting a friend's vacation home in Frazier Park, Vranicar said. He is scheduled to be arraigned on those charges on Sept. 26 in Taft Municipal Court.
After his release from jail in Kern County, Hildner allegedly beat his mother as punishment for reporting him to police, Fagan said.
Authorities said that Robinson was reluctant to report the abuse until Tuesday. "He's her child. She just wants to see him get some help. But I think that he went too far," Vranicar said.