Judge Orders ‘Deeply Disturbed’ TV Gunman To Stand Trial
BURBANK, Calif. (AP) _ A ″deeply disturbed″ man must stand trial for allegedly threatening to shoot television reporter David Horowitz if he refused to read a statement about spies and spacemen during a live telecast.
The gun used by Gary Stollman, 34, of Tallahasse, Fla, was a realistic- lookin g toy pistol and Horowitz was not injured in the Aug. 19 incident at KNBC-TV.
On Thursday, Municipal Court Judge Alan Kalkin ordered Stollman to stand trial in Superior Court on felony charges of false imprisonment and burglary.
″I don’t think in his mind he had the intention to imprison anyone. I think he wanted to have his message read over the air,″ said Arthur Leone, Stollman’s attorney.
Horowitz told reporters Thursday he feared for his life when Stollman pointed the toy pistol at his neck as he began his consumer report. The episode was broadcast for 30 seconds before news director Tom Capra ordered a blackout of the program.
Horowitz, testifying at the preliminary hearing, said he didn’t know the gun was a fake. ″He raised his hand and it looked like what he had was a pistol. He told me to read the statement or he would shoot me,″ Horowitz said.
″Were you afraid at the time?″ asked Deputy District Attorney Barbara Murphy.
″I most certainly was,″ Horowitz replied.
The document Horowitz read was a rambling statement warning of a plot by the CIA and outer space ″alien forces″ against the U.S. government and ″possibly the human race itself.″
After the statement was read, Stollman laid the gun down and TV anchorman John Beard grabbed it.
Leone told the judge that Stollman had been in and out of mental hospitals and asked that he receive psychiatric treatment rather than imprisonment.
″It seems this is a young man who is deeply disturbed and needs help at this time, not punishment,″ Leone said. ″Although it was very frightening to the people involved, he is not a violent man.″
Leone said Stollman’s father, Max Stollman who formerly reported about pharmaceutical matters for KNBC-TV news, want to place his son in UCLA’s psychological hospital as soon as they raise his $25,000 bail. But Kalkin returned the defendant to jail pending a Superior Court arraignment Sept. 10
The burglary charge stems from the allegation that Stollman stole news time when he attempted to take over the station. James Sterling, NBC’s director of commercial sales, testified that Stollman was on the air for about 30 seconds and the average cost of a 30-second commercial is between $750 and $850.
The consumer reporter, who has a nationally syndicated television show called ″Fight Back with David Horowitz,″ has previously warned parents about the dangers of toy pistols on his show.
He said Thursday he will push for legislation making the use of such toys illegal.