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LA: 2 suspects in slaying face retrial – 1st Degree murder charges

The Daily News of Los Angeles

January 15, 2004 Thursday, Glendale/Burbank Edition

by Naush Boghossian, Staff Writer

Karen Terteryan and Rafael Gevorgyan will be retried on first-degree
murder charges in the 2000 slaying of a 17-year-old student outside
Hoover High School, prosecutors said Wednesday.

Terteryan, now 21, and Gevorgyan, 17, were convicted in November of
assault with a deadly weapon, but the jury deadlocked on charges
accusing the defendants of murdering Raul Aguirre in a fight.

“The charge of murder remains, and that’s always been the thrust of
this case, and we believe a jury will be able to convict the
defendants of murder,” said Deputy District Attorney Darrell Mavis.

Raul Aguirre was fatally beaten and stabbed to death May 5, 2000,
when he came to the aid of a friend who got into a fight with the
defendants.

Gevorgyan’s attorney Andrew Flier said prosecutors should proceed
with second-degree murder charges against the defendants and drop
additional charges that include gang ties.

“But no matter when we start this trial, my client is going to be
found not guilty of the murder charge and let go,” Flier said. The
prosecution argued during the first trial that the boys intended to
kill Aguirre to further the interests of a street gang, but the
defense maintained that the defendants acted in self-defense and were
victims of tension between Latinos and Armenians in Glendale. A new
trial date is to be set Jan. 29. Both are being tried as adults.

Terteryan was acquitted of a charge of attempted murder involving
Aguirre’s friend, and Gevorgyan also was cleared of a charge that he
had participated in a violent crime in connection with a street gang.

In the jury’s deliberations against Terteryan, the jury foreman said
the panel was split – six voting for manslaughter, five for
second-degree murder and one for first-degree murder.

Prosecutors would like to try the case as soon as possible, and they
said they would have a stronger case the second time around.

Mavis said prosecutors will present more damaging evidence in the
retrial, including a taped conversation between the defendants in the
back of a police car in which they boast about the fight. The taped
conversation was not allowed as evidence in the first trial.

But the schedule of Terteryan’s high-profile attorney, Mark Geragos,
could become a factor in delaying the start of the second trial.
Geragos is defending entertainer Michael Jackson against child
molestation charges and Scott Peterson, who is accused of killing his
wife, Laci, and unborn child.

“In my mind, this case should take priority for Mr. Geragos because
it’s the oldest of his cases,” Mavis said.

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