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Charges Filed in Slaying of O.C. Lawyer

A Palm Springs man is being held in the death of Garvin Shallenberger, 85, a past president of the State Bar, found dead in Palm Desert.

October 14, 2006|Mai Tran | Times Staff Writer

A Palm Springs man was charged Friday in the killing of a popular Laguna Beach lawyer and past president of the State Bar of California, officials said.

Michael Salvador Anunciation, 46, was arraigned at the Larson Justice Center in Indio, where he pleaded not guilty to murder and grand-theft charges. He was being held at the Riverside County Jail in lieu of $2-million bail. A preliminary hearing has been set Oct. 25.

Anunciation was arrested late Wednesday.

The body of Garvin F. Shallenberger, 85, was found by neighbors Sept. 30 at his Palm Desert vacation mobile home in the 74000 block of Mercury Circle.

Riverside County Sheriff's Department officials have released few details, declining to say how Shallenberger died. The cause of death, they said, is pending the results of toxicology tests, which could take eight weeks.

Authorities allege that Anunciation killed Shallenberger, then took his laptop computer, cordless phones, answering machines, cellphone, fanny pack, wallet, credit cards and identification card.

Ingrid Wyatt, spokeswoman for the Riverside County district attorney's office, said the slaying appeared to be random.

According to public records, Anunciation has a history of arrests. He was charged with assault with a deadly weapon, burglary and carjacking in June 2003. He pleaded guilty to the burglary charge; information was not immediately available on the other charges.

In 2005, he was arrested on suspicion of driving with a suspended license and possession of marijuana.

Friends and neighbors at the mobile home complex said they were relieved that an arrest had been made.

They said Shallenberger, who celebrated his 61st wedding anniversary last year, came out to Palm Desert once in a while, usually alone because his wife, Mary, didn't like the heat. He often spent his time writing a mystery novel or reading, friends said.

Shallenberger, known as Gar, graduated from Boalt Hall law school at UC Berkeley in 1949 and specialized in business litigation. He held many positions during his long career, including president of the State Bar of California in 1977 and president of the Orange County Bar Assn. in 1972.

He founded the American Board of Trial Advocates and was chairman of the State Bar's Commission on Judicial Nominees Evaluation.

In 1977, Shallenberger urged lawyers to cancel or reject membership in private clubs that discriminated on the basis of race, sex, religion or creed. He also pushed to implement a pro bono program to help low-income people afford attorneys.

mai.tran@latimes.com

Times staff writer Maeve Reston contributed to this report.

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