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October 25, 2012

Man Pleads to Killing Sheriff’s Deputy, Sentenced to Life Without Parole

Filed under: Los Angeles Criminal attorney — Tags: , , , — fayarfa @ 7:45 pm

LOS ANGELES — The man charged in the murder of off-duty Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputy Juan Abel Escalante was sentenced today to life in prison without the possibility of parole after pleading guilty to all counts in connection with the 2008 killing, the District Attorney’s Office announced.

Superior Court Judge Ronald S. Coen accepted the plea of Carlos Velasquez, 28, and sentenced Velasquez immediately. Velasquez pleaded guilty to the Aug. 2, 2008, first-degree murder of Escalante and to one count of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

In addition, Velasquez admitted the special circumstance allegation that the murder was committed by an active gang member and to further the criminal activities of a criminal street gang. Velasquez also admitted that he personally fired a handgun that killed the victim.

The deputy was gunned down outside his Cypress Park home as he was preparing to leave for his morning shift at Men’s Central Jail.

Deputy District Attorneys Phillip Stirling and John Colello of the Crimes Against Peace Officers Section (CAPOS) of the District Attorney’s Office handled the prosecution.


September 21, 2011

Four Indicted in 2009 North Hollywood Murder

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — Tags: , , — fayarfa @ 9:21 am

Four Indicted in 2009 North Hollywood Murder

VAN NUYS – Four Van Nuys residents were arraigned today on a superceding indictment charging them with conspiracy and murder in the 2009 shooting death of a 19-year-old Granada Hills man after he sent a text message, the District Attorney’s Office announced.

Zareh Manjikian, 24, who surrendered to police in July following an international manhunt, and Vahagn Jurian, 24, pleaded not guilty to one count each of conspiracy to commit a crime and murder in the Nov. 18, 2009, fatal shooting of Gombert “Mike” Yepremyan.

The indictment also charges Hovik Dzhuryan, 19, and his sister, Khatun Vardanian, 22, with one count each of conspiracy. Dzhuryan and Vardanian each pleaded not guilty. Bail was set at $30,000 for Vardanian and $45,000 for Dzhuryan.

All four were arraigned on a two-count Grand Jury indictment returned Thursday and unsealed today by Superior Court Judge Patricia Schnegg. Deputy District Attorney Ed Nison is prosecuting the case.

The indictment alleges the four conspired to kill Yepremyan after he sent a text message to his girlfriend in which he insulted Vardanian. Vardanian allegedly saw the message, called her brother Dzhuryan and told him to beat up Yepremyan.

The indictment alleges Yepremyan began receiving phone calls from Dzhuryan, Jurian and others who told him to meet them at a Sears parking lot in North Hollywood at Victory and Laurel Canyon boulevards. At the parking lot during a confrontation, the indictment alleges Jurian struck Yepremyan in the face with his fist and Manjikian shot him in the back of the head with a 9 mm handgun.

Manjikian had been a fugitive until July when he turned himself in following his arrest then release in Puerto Rico. He remains in custody on $8 million bail. Jurian, who also had been a fugitive until his arrest earlier this year, remains in custody on $4 million bail.

All four return to court Monday in Van Nuys, Department G, for pretrial. Prosecutors are expected to dismiss two separate cases filed earlier against the defendants.

June 13, 2011

Corona Man Pleads in San Fernando Valley Carjacking-Murder Case

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — Tags: , , , , — fayarfa @ 4:56 pm

SAN FERNANDO – A Corona man pleaded today to carjacking a vehicle, fatally shooting his ex-girlfriend then leading police on an hour-long freeway chase two years ago.

Deputy District Attorney William Chung said Jasper Stallings, 29, faces multiple life sentences when he is sentenced Aug. 26 by Judge Daniel Feldstern.

Stallings pleaded no contest to nine counts, including murder, kidnapping to commit another crime, kidnapping for carjacking, carjacking with special allegation use of a gun, second-degree robbery, making criminal threats, kidnapping and evading, all felonies. He also pleaded no contest to misdemeanor hit-and-run.

As part of the plea, prosecutors dismissed the special circumstances of lying in wait and murder during a kidnapping, which made him eligible for life without possibility of parole. He admitted the special allegations of personal use of a handgun. Prosecutors were not seeking the death penalty.

On May 13, 2009, Stallings carjacked the driver of a red Dodge Ram pickup truck at gunpoint in the San Fernando Valley near Tujunga, then drove the man to Arrowhead where he robbed him at gunpoint and left him at the side of the road.

Stallings drove back to Panorama City where he kidnapped his 27-year-old ex-girlfriend and forced her into the stolen truck near Van Nuys and Roscoe boulevards shortly before noon. As she tried to jump out, he shot her. Stallings got out of the truck, shot her again and took off. She died during surgery at a local hospital.

He then led officers on an hour-long chase that ended in Corona.

May 25, 2011

Man Sentenced for Murder of Parents and Former Girlfriend

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — Tags: , , — fayarfa @ 12:45 pm

LOS ANGELES – A 29-year-old man convicted earlier this month of murdering his parents and a former girlfriend was sentenced today to 85 years to life, plus three consecutive life-without-parole sentences.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Bob Bowers imposed the sentence on Joshua Vick of Los Angeles, who was convicted on May 2 of three counts of first-degree murder with true findings on two special circumstance allegations – murder during a kidnapping and multiple murders. A special allegation that Vick personally used a handgun in the killings also was found to be true.

The defendant was additionally convicted of one count each of robbery and attempted robbery, and three counts of making criminal threats. Deputy District Attorney Robert Grace of the Major Crimes Division prosecuted the case.

Vick fatally shot his mother and father, Mary and Gable Vick, on Jan. 14, 2005, at their apartment. Authorities said that on the same day, he kidnapped his former girlfriend, Tesha Collins, from an education center where she was teaching.

Police spotted Vick driving in South Los Angeles the next day and pulled the car over. He was arrested after a gun battle with police. Collins body was found next to the car. She also was fatally shot.

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