JURY TAKES ON HOOVER HIGH MURDER CASE.
GLENDALE - Twelve jurors began deliberating on Monday in the case of two men charged with murder in the stabbing death of Hoover High School senior Raul Aguirre.
The jury was asked to decide whether the defendants intended to kill Aguirre in a gang fight or acted in self-defense during a schoolyard melee.
In his closing arguments, attorney Andrew Flier said his client, Rafael Gevorgyan, should, at most, be found guilty of assault with a deadly weapon rather than murder. A conviction on the latter charge could send him to prison for 25 years to life.
Flier says Gevorgyan, 18, jumped out of the car with a tire iron to scare off the group of Latinos who had surrounded his friend, co-defendant Karen Terteryan, during a gang-related fight in front of Hoover High School on May 5, 2000.
``He was a 15-year-old boy who had to spontaneously react,'' Flier said.
Prosecutors said Aguirre, 17, was beaten and stabbed when he intervened ``heroically'' in the fight to help one of his friends.
Terteryan was 17 at the time of the fight and Gevorgyan was 15, but both are being tried as adults on charges of street-gang murder, attempted murder and street terrorism.
If convicted, Terteryan faces life in prison without parole and Gevorgyan faces a possible term of 25 years to life.
Flier told the jury his client had no knowledge that Terteryan, a gang member, had a knife and stabbed Aguirre four times.
``If my client has no idea what Mr. Terteryan is going to do, then obviously how can my client be held responsible for his (Terteryan's) actions?'' Flier asked.
But in his final argument, prosecutor Darrell Mavis urged the jurors not to be swayed by the defense's ``preposterous'' claims that the boys acted in self-defense.
Both Terteryan, the ``direct killer'' and Gevorgyan, the ``aider and abettor'' should both be charged with murder, the prosecutor said.
``If you come back and let these two walk, you have to make an incredible leap in evidence,'' Mavis said.
Despite the defense's claims that the fight occurred in the ``heat of passion'' after a group of Latinos hurled racial insults at the two defendants, Mavis said the exchange of gang signs that sparked the melee prove otherwise.
Naush Boghossian, (818) 546-3306
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|Publication:||Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)|
|Date:||Oct 28, 2003|
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