Former student faces preliminary hearing


A preliminary hearing has been set for Sept. 22 at Los Angeles Superior Court in Van Nuys for a former student whom prosecutors have charged with attempted murder in a hammer attack on another former student.

Rupert Ditsworth, the alleged attacker, could testify at the preliminary hearing three weeks from now.

In the attack, which took place in May 2007, Lizzie Barcay ’07 suffered head, face and leg injuries when Ditsworth struck her more than 40 times with a hammer, she said shortly after the attack.

Defense attorneys David S. Kestenbaum and Donald Re are representing Ditsworth, who is out on $1.05 million bail pending trial.

Barcay testified on Aug. 8 at the Van Nuys courthouse. Deputy District Attorney Edward Nison, who is representing the state of California in the case against Ditsworth, said Barcay testified early because of “scheduling reasons,” and told the court he wanted to get her testimony in before she went back to college.

Nison expects to wrap up the preliminary hearing in one day.

“We hope we will conclude the matter on the 22 but it may take longer,” Nison said. “It all depends on the court’s calendar and how much time they have for everything.”

Ditsworth was originally charged as a juvenile, but was recharged as an adult after he turned 18.