The Los Angeles County district attorney intends to seek the death penalty against alleged Hot Spot Cafe killer Nerses Arthur Galstyan if he is convicted in the four slayings, a deputy DA said during a court hearing Tuesday morning
Galstyan, charged in the killings that took place in a Valley Village restaurant on April 3, 2010, appeared at the hearing, held at the Van Nuys courthouse. It was the third pretrial hearing in the case.
Four men—Hayk Yegnanyan; Vardan Tofalyan; Sarkis Karadjian; and Harut Baburyan—. Galstyan was arrested near Seattle and charged with four counts of first-degree murder.
Relatives of the men killed in the shooting, including Vardan Tofalyan's mother, were present in court Tuesday. They looked at photographs of the victims before handing them to Deputy District Attorney Habib Balian. Shortly after, Galstyan entered the courtroom in a blue prison jumpsuit.
Balian told Judge Barry A. Taylor that the DA's to discuss whether to seek the death sentence or life without parole for the defendant, should he be convicted.
"They have determined that the death penalty will be sought in this case," Balian said.
He noted, though, that he was not immediately sure whether the Special Committee had received a letter from the defense attorney, Ted Flier, outlining "mitigating circumstances" against the decision to seek the death penalty for Galstyan, if convicted. Balian said he would look into it.
Galstyan is due back in court Aug. 29, as pretrial hearings continue.
To read more about the case, see these previous stories: