Bath salts suspect pleads not guilty to shovel attack
A 20-year-old man has pleaded not guilty to charges he attacked a 77-year-old woman with a shovel after ingesting the synthetic drug known as bath salts.
The man, Robert William White, appeared in Los Angeles County Superior Court in Glendale on Tuesday, wearing a dark gray inmate jumpsuit and was handcuffed as two deputies escorted him in front of the judge.
His subdued demeanor was a far cry from Thursday after the alleged attack, when police officers and paramedics carried him out of his apartment handcuffed to a wheeled chair as he yelled “God loves all of you” to bystanders.
Outside the courtroom, his attorney, Stephen Sitkoff, said White was polite and had no criminal history. “He is doing fine,” Sitkoff said.
White faces two felony counts of first-degree burglary and assault with a deadly weapon.
White was taken away by ambulance last week after the brief standoff with police that started when he barricaded himself inside his apartment in the 1000 block of Spazier Avenue. Police first had to fire a rubber bullet and Taser to subdue him.
At the hospital, he allegedly told police he had consumed a combination of soda and bath salts earlier that day.
Bath salts contain psychoactive chemicals that “cause chest pains, increased blood pressure, increased heart rate, agitation, hallucinations, extreme paranoia and delusions,” according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
White had been swinging a shovel at birds when the woman approached and told him to stop, police said.
The woman walked away, but White followed her to her apartment, briefly entered her home and struck her on the head with the shovel, police said. The woman was treated for what police described as non-life-threatening injuries.
White, who remains in custody in lieu of $75,000 bail, is due back in court July 5.
--Veronica Rocha, Glendale News Press