LA: Gang Member Sentenced in Killing

Los Angeles Times
July 9 2004

Gang Member Sentenced in Killing

The victim was fatally stabbed in a fight outside Hoover High in
Glendale in 2000

By Arlene Martínez, Times Staff Writer

An admitted gang member pleaded guilty to fatally stabbing a
17-year-old youth four years ago outside a Glendale high school in an
attack prosecutors said was gang-related.

Karen Terteryan, 21, was sentenced Wednesday in Los Angeles Superior
Court to 23 years and eight months in prison on single counts of
voluntary manslaughter and street terrorism, according to the
district attorney’s office.

Terteryan admitted stabbing Raul Aguirre during a fight that broke
out between a small group of Latinos and Armenians on May 5, 2000,
outside Hoover High School. As part of his plea agreement, Terteryan
said the crime was committed to further a street gang.

Officials said Aguirre, who was not a gang member, tried to intervene
in defense of a friend and alleged gang member, Jimmy Orozco, in the
deadly fight.

Aguirre, just days shy of his 18th birthday, would have graduated the
following month.

Deputy Dist. Atty. Darrell Mavis said the plea bargain was reached in
accordance with the wishes of the Aguirre family. “We wanted
[Terteryan] to acknowledge guilt in the killing and he did that,”
Mavis said.

“The plea agreement reflects what we’ve said all along – this was not
a murder,” said Shepard Kopp, Terteryan’s lawyer. “It was a dispute
that turned into a physical fight that was caused by ethnic tension.”

Terteryan, Anait Msryan and Rafael Gevorgyan, all under the age of 18
at the time, were arrested shortly after the attack. All were charged
as adults.

Gevorgyan said the three were sitting in a car outside Hoover High
when Orozco yelled ethnic slurs and began flashing gang signs.
Terteryan and Gevorgyan began fighting with Orozco, who was not
seriously injured.

Msryan, 14 at the time of the incident, pleaded guilty last year to
attempted murder. As part of a plea agreement, she will serve her
seven-year term in the California Youth Authority.

A jury last year found Terteryan and Gevorgyan guilty of assault with
a deadly weapon but deadlocked on murder charges. A retrial was
scheduled for both.

Following Terteryan’s plea, the district attorney’s office dropped
the murder charges against Gevorgyan, 19. He faces one count of
manslaughter in the retrial set to begin Monday.

Andrew Flier, who represents Gevorgyan, said his client did not
intend to strike a similar deal. “Just like the victim went to the
aid of someone, that’s what my client did,” he said.

Gevorgyan testified that he had a tire iron during the fight but did
not use it. He said he was unaware Terteryan had a knife.

Mavis maintains that Gevorgyan hit Aguirre with the tire iron and
said evidence would show he aided and abetted Terteryan in the