Shimon Silberfenig. Photo via Riverside County
Shimon Silberfenig. Photo via Riverside County

A Rancho Mirage yogurt shop owner who repeatedly stabbed an 18-year-old female employee pleaded guilty Friday to an assault with a deadly weapon charge.

Shimon Silberfenig, 59, of Palm Desert, was previously tried on attempted murder and assault charges stemming from the Aug. 27, 2012, attack.

Sliberfenig previously pleaded not guilty by reason of temporary insanity and a Riverside jury deliberated over four days before deadlocking earlier this year, forcing a mistrial. He was set for a retrial when he entered into a plea deal on the assault charge and admitted a sentence enhancement for inflicting great bodily injury.

He was immediately sentenced to five years in state prison, but was released on parole because he had already accumulated enough credit time served while in custody to exceed the sentence.

A criminal protective order was filed prohibiting any contact between Silberfenig and the victim for 10 years.

The victim — identified in court documents only by her initials, D.D. — was stabbed while the two were working together in the back of Swirl Cup Yogurt on Monterey Avenue.

According to the District Attorney’s Office, Silberfenig attacked the victim by placing her in a chokehold and stabbing her multiple times with a 10-inch kitchen knife.

The victim dropped to her stomach in an attempt to fend off the thrusts and began screaming for help, according to a trial brief prepared by Deputy District Attorney Gypsy Yeager.

Two women, both senior citizens, were sitting toward the front of the shop and heard the commotion, prompting them to come to the victim’s aid.

“The defendant was waving the knife around in stabbing motions and pointing towards the victim while screaming ‘bad police work,'” Yeager wrote.

“The customers yelled at him to stop, and (one) placed her purse in between the defendant and the victim and pushed the defendant, which made him pause his actions while the victim ran out the door and the customers followed behind her.”

The victim ran to a neighboring Sprint store “screaming that her boss was trying to stab her,” according to the prosecutor.

Silberfenig surrendered to sheriff’s deputies unarmed and without incident. Deputies later found the knife on the floor behind the self-service counter.

The victim was treated for multiple minor stab wounds and went home from the hospital that night.

Silberfenig had purchased the business with his girlfriend, identified only as L.K., less than a year earlier, according to documents.

— City News Service

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