By Aaron Blevins, 8/09/2012
Two men were convicted of murder and conspiracy and two other defendants of conspiracy today in the 2009 fatal shooting of a 19-year-old Granada Hills man over a text message.
Deputy District Attorney Ed Nison said a Superior Court jury in Van Nuys deliberated two days before returning verdicts against Zareh Manjikian, 25; Vahagn Jurian, 25; Hovik Dzhuryan, 20; and Khatun Vardanian, 23. Manjikian and Jurian were convicted of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit assault by means likely to produce great bodily injury. The other two defendants were convicted of conspiracy.
The jury found true the allegation that Manjikian used a handgun to kill the victim. Jurors also found true the allegations that the other suspects were armed as well.
Trial Judge Greg Dohi scheduled Aug. 29 for sentencing. He also ordered Dzhuryan and Vardanian, who had been free on bail, into custody. Manjikian and Jurian have been in custody since their arrests. All four were indicted a year ago by the Los Angeles County Grand Jury.
The incident alleged the four conspired to kill Gombert “Mike” Yepremyan after he sent a text message to his girlfriend in which he insulted Vardanian. Vardanian saw the message, called her brother and wanted Yepremyan beat up, authorities said.
The defendants set up a meet with the victim on Nov. 18, 2009, in a Sears’ parking lot in North Hollywood. According to the indictment, Jurian struck Yepremyan in the face with his fist during the confrontation and Manjikian shot the victim in the back of the head with a 9-millimeter handgun.
Manjikian was an international fugitive until July 2011, when he turned himself in following his arrest and then release in Puerto Rico.
Jurian also was a fugitive, but was arrested earlier in 2011. Two prior cases filed against the defendants in connection with the case were dismissed after the superseding indictment was returned on Sept. 15, 2011.
Manjikian faces a sentence of 50 years to life in prison. Jurian faces a 26-year-to-life sentence. The other two defendants face five-year terms.