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Boy Ordered Tried as Adult in Slayings of 2 Teenagers

November 08, 2000|ROBERTO J. MANZANO | TIMES STAFF WRITER

GLENDALE — A 15-year-old boy was ordered to stand trial as an adult Tuesday in the slayings of two boys on a La Crescenta schoolyard.

After a preliminary hearing, Glendale Superior Court Judge Barbara Lee Burke ruled prosecutors had sufficient evidence to try Michael Hrayr Demirdjian on two counts of murder, with the special circumstances of torture and robbery, in the July deaths of Blaine Talmo Jr., 14, and Christopher McCulloch, 13.

Demirdjian is also charged with two counts of robbery.

Because of Demirdjian's age, he faces a maximum punishment of life in prison without the possibility of parole if he is convicted. He is charged as an adult under Proposition 21, approved by voters in March, under which any juvenile age 14 and older must be tried as an adult if charged with murder or certain sex offenses.

His attorney, Charles T. Mathews contends Demirdjian was a witness to the slayings by an adult acquaintance.

"It's frankly ridiculous they're prosecuting this young man," Mathews said in an interview. "It's slight evidence--that's all it is."

At the preliminary hearing Monday, Glendale Police Det. Dennis Smith testified that Demirdjian is linked to the Altadena Block Crips gang and had help killing the two boys.

But Smith also said that while there is substantial evidence linking Demirdjian to the crime scene at Valley View Elementary School, none of the fingerprints or footprints recovered by police so far have been identified as his.

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