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O.C. man accused of ax attack on his wife

March 23, 2007|David Haldane | Times Staff Writer

A 78-year-old Fountain Valley man has been charged with attempted murder after allegedly attacking his wife with an ax while she was praying.

Abdel Herbawi is being held at Orange County Jail in lieu of $1-million bail. He was scheduled to be arraigned today on charges that include torture, domestic battery and aggravated assault. If convicted he could face life in prison, Deputy Dist. Atty. Dawn Vargas said.

Herbawi's 68-year-old wife, whose name was withheld, was being treated at UCI Medical Center in Orange for a fractured skull, stab wounds and a severed finger. A spokeswoman for the district attorney's office said the injuries were not life-threatening.

"It's certainly a bit unusual in terms of the situation as we know it and the age of the perpetrator and victim," Vargas said.

The attack occurred about 6:45 a.m. Monday at their home in the 9000 block of Mallard Street, apparently set off by an argument the couple had had the previous day, authorities said. The woman said that as she sat in a chair praying in the living room, Herbawi approached from behind and hit her on the head with the ax, authorities said. He is accused of then pushing her to the ground and stabbing her with a knife.

The woman ran to a neighbor's house, where she called police. Officers found that Herbawi had also apparently stabbed himself, a police spokeswoman said. He was taken to a hospital where he was treated and released into police custody, authorities said.

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david.haldane@latimes.com

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