NORTH HOLLYWOOD : 2 Men Convicted of Killing Businessman

Two men face life in prison without the possibility of parole after being convicted Tuesday of murdering a Woodland Hills gasoline broker, whose bullet-riddled body was found in his Mercedes-Benz parked next to a school on a quiet North Hollywood street.

Jerry Killedjian, 25, of Glendale and Arsen Darbianian, 21, of Los Angeles were convicted of first-degree murder in the Sept. 15 slaying of Daryoush Khorrami.

Killedjian had just delivered $26,000 in cash to the 30-year-old Khorrami as part of a gasoline deal, and a ledger in the victim's car was opened to a page marked "Jerry," according to evidence in the case.

During a short court proceeding, sheriff's deputies maintained heavy security in Van Nuys Superior Court to separate the family of the victim--most of whom were dressed in black--away from the families and supporters of the defendants.

After the verdicts were announced, half a dozen officers kept order in the hallway as female relatives of both men shrieked and screamed, "Oh my God." Two people also approached and cursed the prosecutor, Deputy Dist. Atty. Kathleen M. Cady.

The jury in the two-week trial also determined that Killedjian and Darbianian committed the murder under three special circumstances--during a robbery, for financial gain and while lying in wait.

A conviction on these special allegations means Superior Court Judge Sandy Kriegler, barring any successful last-minute legal maneuvers by defense attorneys, will order both men to prison for the rest of their lives during a hearing Aug. 24.

"I'm happy for the victim's family that they can finally put this behind them," Cady said.

During the trial, the prosecutor presented a circumstantial evidence case that focused on the facts that Darbianian was driving a car similar to the one seen leaving the murder scene and that Killedjian was the last person to be seen with Khorrami.

Joe Orr, Darbianian's attorney, said the jury considered several options concerning the events that night, but "no other interpretation pointed to not guilty."

Charles English, who represented Killedjian, was barred from presenting evidence about Khorrami's conviction in a tax evasion case just before his death. "The deceased had testified against a co-defendant who is now on the run," he said, suggesting that this man may have killed Khorrami in retribution.

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