A Woodland Hills man pleaded not guilty to 16 criminal charges for an alleged machete and knife attack on his estranged wife and a music industry veteran-turned-radio show host.
Behnam Vasseghi, 57, remains jailed on $5.1 million bail while awaiting a Nov. 5 hearing to determine if there is enough evidence to require him to stand trial on 15 felony counts and one misdemeanor charge stemming from the alleged attack at Jerry Sharell's Woodland Hills home.
Sharell and Vasseghi's estranged wife were allegedly accosted at about 8 a.m., Sept. 15, and held hostage for more than five hours, with the suspect often interrogating Sharell, police said.
"He would ask a question and if he didn't like the answer, he'd cut (Sharell) on the neck," Los Angeles police Sgt. Alex Kim said.
Vasseghi allegedly cut Sharell's throat with a knife and cut off the tip of his estranged wife's nose before slashing his own wrists.
His ex-wife was eventually able to get away and call police, who initially thought they were responding to a possible burglary, Kim said.
Responding officers ordered the suspect to come out and drop the machete, and he eventually complied after slitting his wrists, the sergeant said.
The suspect and Sharell were both taken to Northridge Hospital Medical Center, while the woman was treated at Providence Tarzana Medical Center, Kim said.
Vasseghi is charged with one count each of attempted murder, first- degree burglary with a person present, violating a restraining order and stalking, two counts each of aggravated mayhem, torture, making criminal threats and false imprisonment, and four counts of assault with a deadly weapon involving the machete and a knife.
Sharell formerly worked with such acts as the Eagles and the Carpenters and hosts a weekly radio show on KJazz titled "Sundays with Sinatra."
He was hired by David Geffen in the 1970s to manage the Asylum Records label, which later became part of Elektra Records, where he worked with Jackson Browne, Harry Chapin, Carly Simon, The Cars, Queen, Motley Crüe and Bread, among other acts.
Sharell later became a vice president at Westwood One radio network, and also chaired The Recording Academy's MusiCares Foundation. He also served as president/CEO of the nonprofit Society of Singers, helping to produce the annual Ella Awards gala that paid tribute to legendary artists.
-- City News Service