A Tarzana shopping center owner accused of hurling a claw hammer through a car window and injuring the woman driver during a parking dispute testified Monday that he did not intend to hurt her but to make a citizen's arrest.
Robert Alan Wall, 49, told a Van Nuys Superior Court jury that he was attempting to stop Marilynn Packer, 51, from leaving the parking lot of Wall Street Plaza in the 18600 block of Ventura Boulevard when he smashed her car window with the hammer.
"I was determined to arrest her," Wall said. "I intended to break a small hole in the glass and turn off the ignition to stop the car. I didn't want to hurt her at all."
Packer testified earlier that the claw end of the hammer punctured the right side of her face, breaking her cheekbone and knocking out several teeth.
Wall is charged with assault with a deadly weapon with intent to commit great bodily harm and with false imprisonment in connection with the May, 28, 1988, incident.
Wall testified Monday that Packer had parked her car so that it partially blocked a parking space for the handicapped. He said Packer refused to move her car despite warnings that it would be towed.
"She responded with an obscenity," Wall testified.
At some point, Packer set off her car's burglar alarm, and Wall responded by telling her that she was under arrest for disturbing the peace, Wall said.
Wall testified that he blocked Packer's car with his Mercedes-Benz and went to call police. When he returned, Wall said, Packer was attempting to maneuver her car around his Mercedes. Packer injured three people, including Wall, while attempting to drive off, Wall testified.
He said it was then that he got the hammer out of his trunk.
If convicted, Wall faces a maximum sentence of eight years in prison, authorities said.