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Fatal Stabbing Leaves Many Questions

Violence: Friends of the 15-year-old girl wonder why no one stopped the alleged attack that led to her killing. Police are puzzled by the suspect's death after questioning.

November 21, 2001|BOB POOL | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Teenagers and adults grappled with unanswered questions Tuesday in the killing of a popular Santa Monica High School student--and the strange death of the girl suspected of stabbing her.

Grieving friends of Deanna Maran were asking themselves why someone didn't intervene to stop the fight at the Westwood party Saturday night, when the 15-year-old was pinned to the ground and then allegedly stabbed by 17-year-old Katrina Sarkissian of Los Angeles.

Authorities wondered why other young party-goers loaded the bleeding Maran into a car and drove her to Santa Monica Hospital instead of dialing 911 and calling paramedics to the Thayer Avenue scene.

Los Angeles police were puzzled over what caused Sarkissian to collapse and stop breathing Sunday afternoon, when they brought her into the West Los Angeles station for questioning.

And school officials and parents were questioning why no adults were present to supervise a party at a private home that apparently mushroomed from 15 or so invited guests to as many as 40.

Maran, a sophomore honors student who was on Santa Monica High's volleyball, water polo and track teams, had reportedly tried to stop Sarkissian's younger sister from damaging the home where the party was being hosted by another teenager.

"There was drinking, and a girl was running in the backyard, and Deanna told her to stop running," another party-goer, J.C. Flores, recalled. "Deanna was trying to keep everything calm and prevent damage to the house."

Flores, a 16-year-old sophomore who wore a "D.--RIP" ribbon on his school backpack Tuesday, said the 15-year-old chastised by Maran called her older sister to complain.

When Sarkissian arrived about 10:30 p.m., another girl pinned Maran to the ground at the front of the house while Sarkissian allegedly pummeled her and then stabbed her with a piece of glass.

"I was in the backyard. I wouldn't have let her get beat up. Deanna was my friend," Flores said. "The sad thing is all her friends were watching and didn't help."

Fifteen-year-old sophomore Zoe Blake said Maran pleaded for Sarkissian to stop hitting her while she was being held to the ground by the second girl. "She said, 'Please just listen to my side of the story!' several times. No one should get stabbed over something that stupid," Blake said.

Other teenagers said they had heard that Sarkissian, who was not a student at Santa Monica High, took sleeping pills shortly before Los Angeles police took her into custody about 2 p.m. Sunday.

Police said they tried to revive Sarkissian, who died at UCLA Medical Center at 5:26 p.m. A coroner's office spokesman said that an autopsy is pending.

"We're hearing all sorts of rumors in regards to her medical condition. It's an ongoing investigation," said Officer Jack Richter, a police spokesman. He said Sarkissian's 15-year-old sister has been released from custody.

Santa Monica High administrators said counselors planned to return to the campus today to talk about the incident with grief-stricken students.

Mark Kelly, co-principal of the 3,380-pupil school, said a memorial service being planned with the help of Maran's family.

The service is tentatively scheduled for 3:45 p.m. Monday at the campus.

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