Ambush Doc Pleads Not Guilty

“Alan Hoffer Was Reportedly Bitten On His Neck And Shoulder During The Pre-Dawn Attack”

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Dr. Georges Bensimhon

CLEVELAND — Accused of trying to kill his son-in-law, Dr. Georges Bensimhon pleaded not guilty Sept. 24 in Cuyahoga County Court.

Bensimhon, a well-respected anesthesiologist from Lehigh County in Pennsylvania, allegedly drove to Cleveland Heights, Ohio and attacked Dr. Alan Hoffer, 39, in the early morning of Sept. 4.

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Danielle Bensimhon

In the ninja-style attack, Bensimhon, who was garbed head-to-toe in black, hid in the bushes behind Hoffer’s house. When Hoffer stepped out of the house at 5:30 a.m., Bensimhon smashed him in the head with a 12-inch metal pry bar. Hoffer, who is involved in a bitter divorce with Bensimhon’s daughter, Danielle Bensimhon, overpowered his 66-year-old assailant. Bensimhon suffered a broken arm during the botched “hit.”

Hoffer, a neurosurgeon, told police that on the morning of the attack, he had prearranged plans to to fly to Florida to pick up his daughter.  Describing the fight, Hoffer said he heard footsteps just seconds before he was struck. He was dazed and bloodied, but he managed to gain control of the smaller Bensimhon and sat on him. When Hoffer heard his masked attacker yell, “Alan, get off me. I can’t breathe,” he recognized the voice as that of Bensimhon.

Both Hoffer and Bensimhon were taken to area hospitals for treatment, with Hoffer found to have bite marks on his neck and shoulder.

During their investigation, officers found spinal needles, some filled with anesthetics and sedatives, in a backpack that apparently belonged to Bensimhon. The officers did not speculate why Bensimhon had brought the syringes and drugs to Hoffer’s house or what he intended to do with the supplies. Bensimhon’s car was found about a half-mile away in the parking lot of the Cleveland Heights library.

Hoffer’s neighbors on Dellwood Road reported that Hoffer and his estranged wife were in the middle of a nasty divorce that included a custody battle over their 1-year-old daughter. Bensimhon had reportedly threatened Hoffer several times in the past. Danielle moved to south Florida two years ago with the couple’s daughter. She works as a realtor and is a cantor at Temple Beth David in Palm Beach Gardens. Hoffer has another daughter from a previous marriage. She was in the house when the attack occurred.

Bensimhon has been a doctor for three decades, most recently working as an anesthesiologist for Coordinated Health in the Lehigh Valley. He appeared at his arraignment with his Cleveland attorney Larry Zukerman. His bond was raised from $500,000 to $750,000 and he was placed on house arrest. As part of his bond conditions, Bensimhon will be confined to his home in South Whitehall, Pa. He will be electronically monitored and allowed to travel to medical visits and temple.

He was also ordered to have no contact with Hoffer and to surrender his U.S. and Israel passports. The judge also ordered that he is only to return to Cleveland to visit his attorney and only after notifying the court. While in Cleveland, Bensimhon is under court orders to reside with his attorney, who lives in Beachwood. Bensimhon’s first pre-trial hearing is scheduled for Sept. 30. No trial date has been set.

Bensimhon faces one count each of attempted aggravated murder and attempted murder, and two counts each of kidnapping and felonious assault.