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SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA / A news summary | The Local Review

19-Year-Old Found Guilty of Second-Degree Murder

March 21, 2000

LOS ANGELES — A Superior Court jury Monday convicted Ari Tomasian of second-degree murder, closing the case against the last of six defendants tried for the stabbing death of a 17-year-old boy outside an Encino birthday party.

Tomasian, now 19, sat expressionless as the verdict was read by a clerk in Superior Court Judge Tricia Ann Bigelow's courtroom. He glanced back briefly at his family. His mother, Seta Thomas, covered her mouth, her eyes welling with tears.

Tomasian was convicted of stabbing Abtin Tangestanifar, a popular boy from Tarzana, in May 1998 as the youth came out of a "Sweet 16" party held at a house in a wealthy neighborhood.

"I feel relaxed," Parvin Tangestanifar said, wiping away tears. "And now I know my son is going to rest in peace."

Deputy Dist. Atty. Darrell Mavis called the verdict "a just result." During closing arguments, Mavis had urged the jury to convict Tomasian of first-degree murder, while Tomasian's defense attorney, Melvyn Douglas Sacks, argued that his client is guilty of nothing more than assault.

Sacks said he would appeal the case but declined further comment.

For second-degree murder, Tomasian faces the possibility of 15 years to life in state prison, Mavis said. A first-degree murder conviction would have meant 25 years to life. Tomasian's sentencing is scheduled for April 11.

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