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Transient charged with attack on actress

LOS ANGELES — A 45-year-old transient was charged Nov. 16 with attacking and threatening to kill television actress Pauley Perrette, one of the stars of the hit series “NCIS,” near her Hollywood home.

David Merck appeared in a downtown courtroom and pleaded not guilty to one felony count each of false imprisonment by violence and making a criminal threat.

Merck allegedly grabbed the 46-year-old actress, punched her and then made the threat to kill her.

Perrette, who plays forensic scientist Abby Sciuto on the CBS series, tweeted that she was attacked near her home around 5 p.m. Nov. 12.

“Tonight was awful, life-changing and I’m only grateful to be alive. I almost died tonight,” she wrote. “I was walking across my street to a new guest house I bought to meet my architect. On my street, I was jumped by a very psychotic, homeless man. He grabbed me so forcefully, pinned my arm, punched me in the nose, forehead repeatedly telling me he was going to kill me. Then he showed me how he was going to kill me. He kept repeating his name. ‘William … Don’t forget that! I’m going to kill you.’”

The actress said she “was alone, terrified, trapped. There was an empty garage behind me and I knew if he got me in there I was dead. I knew I couldn’t overcome him. I prayed my heart out and then finally said, ‘William is a beautiful name. I have a little nephew named William.’

“That’s all I said, all I did, other than praying my heart out. He started to punch me again and then said: `Get the [expletive] out of here’. And I did,” she wrote.

“I went into shock. Collapsed on the sidewalk. Some guy walked right past me with a dog that licked my face. He was on his phone, annoyed. Did nothing. I texted my friend next door and church friend cop. I immediately drew a police sketch of the guy who was headed towards Hollywood Boulevard with murder in his eyes.”

She said a male friend took a photo of the sketch, tracked down her attacker and followed him until police arrived.

“I am shaken and traumatized,” she wrote. “My life changed tonight. We need full mental health care. We need housing and help for the homeless. We need to support our cops. We need to not walk alone. I need to heal.”

The man who was walking his dog and didn’t help Perrette told CBS2 that he didn’t recognize the actress and felt awful about what happened. He said she was disheveled, seemed disoriented and appeared to be homeless.

Merck was arrested roughly an hour after the attack and was being held at Twin Towers jail in lieu of $100,000 bail, according to county jail records.

He is due back in court Dec. 2. If convicted as charged, he faces up to four years in prison.


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