Pauley Perrette’s Attacker Charged, Cries Innocence As Actress Finds Solace In Church

The homeless man who allegedly attacked NCIS star Pauley Perrette last Thursday claims that he didn’t do it.

David Merck, 45, was identified by Perrette as her attacker in a frightening incident that went viral after Pauley shared her story on Twitter the day after. According to the Los Angeles Times, Merck has been charged with felony criminal threats and imprisonment by violence for the assault on Pauley. He pleaded not guilty at his arraignment Monday.

If he’s found guilty of attacking Pauley, he faces four years in state prison.

He was arrested shortly after Perrette said she was attacked. Pauley drew a sketch of the homeless man, whom she called “psychotic,” and friends tracked and followed him until police arrived, the New York Daily News noted. He was found on a nearby street, arrested, and is currently being held on $60,000 bond.

Merck’s criminal history is reportedly extensive, but media reports didn’t detail past charges.

As the Inquisitr previously reported, Pauley was alone at the time of the attack and on her way to meet an architect to discuss designs for a guest house she purchased. Then, suddenly, Perrette said she was “jumped by a VERY psychotic man.”

“[He] grabbed me so forcefully, pinned my arm, punched me in the nose, forehead repeatedly telling me he was going to kill me.”

The attacker told Perrette how he was going to kill her and kept repeating a name, William, and that she should never forget it. Pauley wrote that she was “alone, terrified and trapped. There was an empty garage behind me and I knew if he got me in there I was dead.”

So Pauley prayed and tried to connect with him. Assuming that William was his first name, Perrette used it to try to break through his mania.

“I knew I couldn’t overcome him,” Perrette wrote. “I prayed my heart out and then finally said, ‘William is a beautiful name. I have a little nephew named William.’ ”

After a few more punches, the man let her go. Pauley said she then “went into shock” and collapsed on the sidewalk. While Perrette lay there, a man on his phone walked right past her. That same man has since visited Perrette to apologize, saying that ignoring her was a misunderstanding.

A couple days after Perrette was attacked, she was seen at her local church, Hollywood United Methodist, where an eyewitness later told Entertainment Tonight that the actress was in good spirits. Pauley attended services alongside a police friend named Nicole (who rushed to her side Thursday night) and James (who helped track down David).

The pastor, who wasn’t named, included Pauley’s story in his sermon.

“Even though this man was punching her and threatening her life, Pauley prayed for her safety and for him. One, she was able to pull the strings of God’s love for each of us… and was able to ask his name, then connect with him on a human level … When Pauley was telling her story to the media on Friday, first by proclaiming herself as a person of faith… Second, she proclaimed her forgiveness for the man who assaulted her. And third, she not only called attention to the critical need for mental health services in our country but especially here in Hollywood.”

Perrette’s account of the incident concluded with a plea for improved mental health care and housing for the homeless and support for the cops. Perrette has long been an advocate for civil and human rights causes and has worked with the homeless before.

With her attacker now in jail, Pauley’s pastor noted that “hopefully (he’s) receiving treatment … And we just wanted to say we are so glad that you (Perrette) are here and we love you very much.”

[Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer / Getty Images]