2 Accused in Slaying Face Trial as Adults


Two teenagers accused of stabbing to death a 17-year-old boy at a “Sweet 16" birthday party in Encino in May will be tried as adults, authorities said Thursday.

Sayat Oruncakciel, 18, of Northridge, and Michael Aintablian, 18, of Calabasas, were arraigned in Van Nuys Municipal Court on Thursday. Each pleaded not guilty to a charge of murder, plus the special circumstance of lying in wait, said Sandi Gibbons, spokeswoman for the Los Angeles district attorney’s office. If convicted, they face a maximum penalty of life in prison without parole.

Their preliminary hearing was scheduled for Aug. 11 in Van Nuys Municipal Court. Both are being held without bail at Sylmar Juvenile Hall, Gibbons said.

Oruncakciel and Aintablian are among six teenagers accused of killing Abtin Tangestanifar, a popular Taft High School student, outside a house in the 17900 block of Medley Drive on May 31. Tangestanifar was stabbed 11 times with a knife and screwdriver. He was rushed to Northridge Hospital Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.


Police have said the six teenagers crashed the party and were asked to leave after getting into a fight with an invited guest. Instead of leaving, the boys lingered in front of the house, police said, and allegedly attacked Tangestanifar as he walked out of the party.

Onlookers said they heard the youths shout “Jef Rox,” a gang name, as they allegedly beat and stabbed Tangestanifar.

The district attorney’s office has requested that all of the suspects be tried as adults.

Juvenile Court Judge Morton Rochman ruled on Wednesday that Oruncakciel and Aintablian would be tried as adults, Gibbons said.


The other four minors--Ari Tomasian, Dikran Tchakirian, Pete Makhdomian and Aram Oknaian, all 16 to 17 years old--face fitness hearings in Juvenile Court next month, she said.