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Palm Desert Man Accused of Assault Must Stand Trial

Riverside County District Attorney officials say Shimon Silberfenig attacked a female employee at a Rancho Mirage frozen yogurt shop he owned,

A Palm Desert man was ordered today to stand trial for allegedly attacking a female employee without provocation at the Rancho Mirage frozen yogurt shop he owned, inflicting non-life-threatening stab wounds.

Shimon Silberfenig, 55, was ordered to stand trial on one charge each of attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon following a preliminary hearing at Indio's Larson Justice Center.

The alleged victim, identified as Desarey Doe in court papers, testified that she was a manager at Swirl Cup Self Serve Yogurt in the 34100 block of Monterey Avenue. She said she had worked there several months before being attacked last Aug. 27.

The young woman said she was cleaning a yogurt machine that afternoon when she felt Silberfenig's hand go around her neck.

"I said, 'What are you doing this for?' And he said, 'Bad police work, bad police work,' and tried to stab me," she testified.

She said she tried to get away, but tripped on a ladder and fell.

"I was on the floor and saw he was still coming after me," holding a 10-inch kitchen knife that employees used to cut fruit, the woman testified.

She said she raised her hands and tried to kick to defend herself, but sustained cuts on her back, finger, wrist and chest. The chest wound required two stitches to close, she said.

"Did you see blood while you were on the ground?" asked Deputy District Attorney Deana Bohenek.

"Yes, there was blood everywhere," the woman said.

"And was he jabbing the knife toward you while you were on the ground?" Bohenek asked.

"Yes," the woman said.

She said she started screaming when the attack started, and two female customers ran back to help her. She got away and ran into a nearby business, where someone called police.

She said she was put on worker's compensation and sent to a psychiatrist. The business later shut down, she said.

The woman said she was very shaken by the attack.

"I was even carrying a bat around the house because I was scared ... I couldn't even have anyone behind me ... I was very paranoid. I would look out of the window and was afraid he'd escape and come get me."

She said she didn't know why she was attacked. Silberfenig had gotten angry at her once for putting items on the floor while she was cleaning, but otherwise their relationship seemed fine, she said.

She said she'd seen him get angry at a co-worker and customers before, but hadn't observed him threatening anyone. The witness said that on the day of the attack, the defendant seemed irritated during a phone conversation, but about all he said to her was to ask several times if she could work a certain day, and each time she said she could.

She said he was angry during the attack, but she didn't know what he meant by "bad police work."

Witness Carol Kocherhans testified that she and another woman bought frozen yogurt at the shop and heard a woman screaming after the alleged victim, who waited on them, went back to clean the yogurt machine.

"Desarey was lying on the floor, there was blood on the floor and a man was standing over her with a knife in his hands," Kocherhans said.

She said she grabbed the young woman by her shoulders and arms to pull her off the floor and away from her attacker, and ran after her to a nearby business.

"It was unreal, it didn't seem like it was happening. It was like a movie," the witness said.

Silberfenig remains in custody at the county jail in Indio in lieu of $1 million bail. He is due back in court on March 7 for a post-preliminary hearing arraignment.

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