Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Thursday, May 14, 2009


Page 4


California Man Sentenced to 12 Years for Hammer Attack on Attorney


By a MetNews Staff Writer


The Arcadia, Calif., man convicted of attacking Los Angeles workers’ compensation attorney Erwin Nepomuceno with a hammer has been sentenced to 12 years in state prison, the District Attorney’s Office said.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Teri Schwartz sentenced Mulji Patel, 70, on Tuesday, and also ordered him to pay Nepomuceno $16,000 for medical expenses and $20,250 for lost wages.

Patel faced a possible 18-year sentence for striking Nepomuceno in the head and shoulder during a January 2006 appointment at the Pasadena Rehabilitation Center.

A jury convicted Patel of two felony counts of assault with a deadly weapon and found true an allegation of great bodily injury on March 16, 2009. Jurors also found that Patel had a prior felony conviction, dating back to 1992, of false imprisonment by violence with gun use.

The same jury determined that Patel was sane at the time of the crime.

A former Rockwell International Corp. employee, Patel struck the victim on the head with a hammer on Jan. 31, 2006. This was the second time the defendant was convicted of attacking a workers’ compensation attorney.

In 1991, Patel smuggled a gun into the courtroom of Workers Compensation Judge Charles Gordon, now deceased, and held it to the head of opposing counsel Lynn P. Peterson.

Gordon tackled Patel and was able to knock the gun away. He was later honored by the Carnegie Hero Fund for his actions.

The weapon was found to be unloaded. Patel served three months of a yearlong sentence and was placed on probation for that attack.

Almost 15 years later, Patel attacked Nepomuceno. The attorney, currently with Manning & Marder, Kass, Ellrod, Ramirez LLP, sustained a head injury in the attack, requiring staples.


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