No bail in La Jolla hammer attack
by NEAL PUTNAM
Published - 06/15/19 - 07:41 AM | 5239 views | 0 0 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A judge on June 14 declined to set any bail for a La Jolla man, who is accused of torture in a hammer attack of a cardiologist who is his neighbor.

Dr. Hassan Kafri, 48, was hospitalized in the attack Wednesday that was allegedly committed by Robert Franklin Whitaker, 57, who appeared before San Diego Superior Court Judge Joseph Brannigan.

Charges of torture and assault with a deadly weapon were filed against Whitaker, who pleaded not guilty.

Deputy District Attorney Matthew Greco said Kafri suffered a broken nose, fractured facial bones, a broken wrist, and broken teeth in an 8-minute incident in Kafri’s garage in La Jolla.

“It was an incredible savage beating that went on and on,” said Greco to the judge. “He presents an extreme danger, incredible danger to the community.”

The prosecutor said the incident began with a tense conversation between both men, who are neighbors, and it erupted in “a brutal beating that does not stop.”

Whitaker’s attorney, Vik Monder, told the judge there was “provocation from the victim” and his client was also injured and taken to the hospital.

Monder said Whitaker has lived in La Jolla for 10 years and runs his own construction business. He said there is no flight risk.

Monder urged that “reasonable bail” should be set. Brannigan declined to set any bail after hearing the prosecutor’s presentation.

Brannigan signed a court order that bars Whitaker from contacting Kafri that includes a restriction that he stay at least 100 yards away from him in the event some bail is set later.

Monder said if granted bail, Whitaker would agree not to return home to the residence he shares with his girlfriend, saying “he has other places to stay.”

A preliminary hearing was set for June 27.

Greco said the torture charge carries a life sentence and if Whitaker is convicted of all counts, he could face a sentence of 17 years to life in prison.

Greco said Whitaker has a prior conviction for making a criminal threat in Orange County and evading police in 1999.

Kafri operates his own clinic and also works at three local hospitals.
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