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Trial Ordered For Ex-Playmate In Husband’s Shooting

Former model, actress charged with attempted murder
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Former Playboy playmate Victoria Rathgeb is pictured on the cover of the May 1968 edition of Playboy magazine. (Playboy)

Former Playboy playmate Victoria Rathgeb is pictured on the cover of the May 1968 edition of Playboy magazine. (Playboy)

LOS ANGELES (CBS) — The 1968 Playboy Playmate of the Year was ordered Friday to stand trial on an attempted murder charge for allegedly shooting her husband down the hall from their Hollywood apartment last October.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Michael D. Abzug denied the defense’s request to reduce the charge against 66-year-old Victoria Rathgeb — also known as Angela Dorian and Victoria Vetri — to assault with a deadly weapon.

Rathgeb’s husband of 25 years testified that he left the couple’s apartment last Oct. 16 after his wife accused him of being unfaithful, and that he was waiting for the building’s elevator door to open when he saw his wife out of his peripheral vision about eight feet away.

“Quickly she just aimed and fired at me,” Bruce Rathgeb said, telling the judge that he felt burning and stinging on the left side of his body and smelled gunpowder.

He said that his wife then put a small plastic bag in his mouth, which he spit out, and that she walked back to their apartment.

He testified that he passed out and later woke up in the hospital “in terrible pain.”

“They tried to take the bullet out. I guess it was close to the heart so they left it in,” he said, noting that he has a 4-inch scar above his left pectoral muscle and cannot move his fingers on his left hand.

On cross-examination by defense attorney E. John Myers, the woman’s husband maintained that he had not been unfaithful to his wife while the two were living separately for a few months before the shooting.

“Twenty-five years, I have never cheated on my wife,” Bruce Rathgeb told the judge. “I wasn’t going to listen to that all night … I have been true to her for 25 years and that’s the truth.”

He denied that the two had argued about drugs.

The couple’s neighbor, Michael Place, testified that he saw the victim on the floor after hearing a loud noise, and noticed a bullet casing and a small plastic bag nearby.

“He said, `My wife just shot me,”‘ Place told the judge. “He asked me to call 911.”

The defendant was arrested the same day by the Los Angeles Police Department’s Hollywood Division and has remained jailed since then on $1.53 million bail, which the judge refused to reduce.

Rathgeb appeared in more than 30 television series and films during the 1960s and 1970s, including the film Rosemary’s Baby,” and television’s “Hogan’s Heroes,” “Star Trek,” “Perry Mason,” “Bonanza,” “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.” and “The Courtship of Eddie’s Father.”

(©2010 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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