A Glendale man who was brutally beaten and later shot to death had briefly escaped his attackers and attempted to chase down a passing motorist as he yelled and pleaded for help because he feared he was going to be killed, detectives testified in court this week.
Moments before, the passing motorist had urged the men attacking 33-year-old Joshua West to stop last April 24 in the 10700 block of Vinedale Street in Sun Valley, but she continued driving because “she was too afraid to stop and let him in,” Los Angeles Police Det. Joshua Byers testified Tuesday during a preliminary hearing for West’s alleged attackers.
Soon after, a Mercedes sped past her vehicle and she saw two flashes from gunshots, Byers said in Los Angeles County Superior Court in San Fernando.
West’s autopsy revealed that he was shot once through his heart, Los Angeles Police Det. Mario Santana said during his testimony on Monday.
He also had slash wounds to his throat, a bite mark on his left arm and his right leg was broken.
Santana testified that West's estranged boyfriend and co-defendant, Hovanes “John” Maskovian, later said in a police interview he had tried to bite his brother to get him to stop the beating, but had instead accidentally bitten West.
After West had tried to run away from his attackers, Hovanes Maskovian also told Santana that he allegedly got into West's Mercedes to go after him and help him.
He claimed that he lost control of the Mercedes, which veered directly in West's path and struck him, Santana said.
Prosecutors allege West’s violent killing was driven by money.
They claim Hovanes Maskovian, his brother Hachik “Kriss” Maskovian, 29, and 19-year-old Nazaret “Nick” Bayamdzhyan, schemed to kill West and collect on his life insurance policy.
Witnesses told investigators that they had seen West being brutally beaten by two men — one of whom allegedly slammed West's head with the passenger door of a tow truck.
Police said West's killing was tied to multiple crime scenes in Sun Valley.
That day, Santana testified that Hachik Maskovian told him he had left his home on Vinedale to pick up Bayamdzhyan to watch a hockey game.
After the game, he dropped off Bayamdzhyan, went home to get his things and then headed to another friend’s home because he had a job interview the next day.
But Santana testified that Hachik Maskovian never made it to the interview.
Investigators said Hovanes Maskovian and Bayamdzhyan gave inconsistent accounts of what happened that night during various interviews.
Hovanes Maskovian had reportedly told investigators he had dinner with a friend in Studio City the night of West's death.
But he later told investigators that he had sought his brother's help in getting a cellphone with West and had agreed to meet him that night to get one, Santana said.
West and Hovanes Maskovian reportedly arrived separately that night and met up with his brother on Vinedale near a dirt road. He told Santana that Bayamdzhyan was directing traffic while he was seated inside Hachik Maskovian's tow truck.
On Friday, an insurance agent testified that Hachik Maskovian called her last April 26 to cancel his policy for a GMC tow truck.
At some point during the meeting on April 24, Hovanes Maskovian alleged that his brother started punching West and then he tried to stop it, Santana testified. Hovanes Maskovian also allegedly told Santana that Bayamdzhyan and his brother had hit West with a metal object.
Bayamdzhyan told investigators that after West began chasing the passing motorist, Hachik Maskovian retrieved a gun from the tow truck and said he was going to shoot West, Byers said.
After the shots were fired at West, Byers testified that Bayamdzhyan said he and Hachik Maskovian moved West's body's onto the tow truck’s floorboard and fled the area.
Bayamdzhyan told Byers that Hachik Maskovian had allegedly called his brother during the ride.
At some point, he alleged they dumped West's body in the 10200 block of Penrose Street, Byers said.
An officer arriving at the Penrose crime scene spotted Hachik Maskovian's white tow truck fleeing the area and began pursuing it.
The tow truck was reportedly headed toward the Foothill (210) Freeway, police said.
That's when Bayamdzhyan told Byers he allegedly jumped out of the passenger’s side door and landed on the ground in the 8400 block of La Tuna Canyon Drive.
Investigators reportedly later found a cross pendant at the Vinedale crime scene. At Penrose, they discovered a rosary-like chain, which Santana said was similar to one Hachik Maskovian wore in his Department of Motor Vehicles photograph.
After the incident, the brothers reportedly met at a friend's home, Santana said. Hovanes Maskovian told investigators that his brother stripped him of his clothing and “bathed” him.
Hovanes Maskovian claimed that his brother told him not to speak about the incident or he would be killed, Santana said.