SUSPECTS IN TEEN SLAYING TO STAY IN CUSTODY, JUDGE RULES.
Despite the impassioned pleas of their celebrity lawyers, two San Fernando Valley teen-agers must remain in custody while awaiting trial in the stabbing death of a Tarzana youngster, a judge ruled Thursday.
Sylmar Juvenile Court Judge Morton Rochman ruled that Michael Aintablan and Sayat Oruncakciel should remain in custody ``for the protection of the community,'' among other reasons.
The judge will rule next week whether the teen-agers must stand trial as adults on first-degree charges of murder in the death of Taft High School student, Abtin Tangestanifar, 17. The victim was stabbed 11 times outside a birthday party in an affluent Encino neighborhood May 31.
Altogether, six teen-agers have been charged in the killing, which police said occurred during an alcohol-fueled dispute between two groups. Aintablan and Oruncakciel were both 17 at the time.
Rochman's ruling came after the teen-agers' lawyers - former O.J. Simpson attorney Robert Shapiro and Death Row Records attorney David Kenner - urged the court to release the youngsters to their families.
The defense counsels insisted their clients were the least culpable of the six defendants. Shapiro read the judge several letters of support from the community, including a letter from Aintablan's high school principal saying the youth is ``incapable of hurting the feelings of his friends, let alone harming them in any fashion.''
The two defendants both attended a private Armenian high school.
Shapiro also said the ``overwhelming majority of witnesses'' said his client wasn't involved in the fight leading up to the killing.
Kenner said his client also had little or no involvement in the skirmish - and has virtually no criminal history.
``Other than a speeding ticket, not a single skirmish with the law or a single blemish on his record,'' Kenner said.
Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney Steven R. Belis urged the judge to keep the two teen-agers in custody, saying the two ``definitely aided and abetted, and showed a reckless disregard for human life.''
Belis said one witness heard Aintablan utter during the fight, ``Do what you've got to do, I've got your back.'' And police later found two knives in Oruncakciel's Jeep, according to Belis. Kenner said his client had the knives because he'd been camping only days earlier.
A hearing is scheduled for Tuesday on whether the two teen-agers will be tried as adults. For an adult, a charge of murder with a special circumstance of lying in wait carries a maximum penalty of life in prison without parole.
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|Publication:||Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)|
|Date:||Jul 24, 1998|
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