L.A. councilman calls for federal probe into homicide suspect's release on bail in Puerto Rico
A Los Angeles city councilman is calling on federal authorities to investigate why a Puerto Rican judge released a Los Angeles homicide suspect on bail last month.
Councilman Paul Krekorian, whose district includes the North Hollywood parking lot where 19-year-old Mike Yepremyan was gunned down, said Judge Gloria Maynard’s decision to release the teen’s suspected killer is “so disgusting, so absolutely bizarre and inexplicable that I think it has to be investigated.”
Last month, authorities finally located and arrested the man they believe killed the teen in a beach town outside Puerto Rico’s capital city, San Juan.
Despite a no-bail arrest warrant issued by authorities in Los Angeles, Zareh Manjikian was released on a $50,000 bond. He hasn’t been seen since.
The turn of events has shocked police in Los Angeles and the slain teen’s family.
Attempts to reach the judge in Puerto Rico have been unsuccessful.
The series of events that apparently led to Yepremyan's deadly November 2009 shooting were set in motion when he texted an insult about his girlfriend’s friend, who happened to see the message.
Soon after, Yepremyan began receiving mysterious phone calls from a stranger, who eventually instructed him to meet up a Sears parking lot, where the shooting occurred.
Krekorian introduced a city council resolution Wednesday calling for a federal investigation. He said he hopes the council will vote on the matter by next week. He said the offices of California Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer have also expressed support.
“I can’t imagine any good reason that any judge anywhere would release a murder suspect who is absolutely known to be a flight risk,” he said.
-- Robert Faturechi
Photo: Artak Yepremyan and his wife Ani Atajyan look at a photograph of their son Mike Yepremyan, 19, who was shot to death in November 2009. Credit: Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times