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Conviction in Killings Upheld

Times Staff Writer

An appeals court on Tuesday upheld a teenager’s conviction for killing two youths on a school playground in La Crescenta nearly three years ago.

Michael Demirdjian argued that there was insufficient evidence to support his conviction and that two life sentences without the possibility of parole are cruel and unusual punishment.

But the 2nd District Court of Appeal in Los Angeles concluded that evidence gathered from the youth’s home and cuts on his hands confirmed Demirdjian’s involvement in the killings.

“Appellant had cuts on his hand consistent with participation in the crime.... Blood from one of the victims was found at his home,” the court said Tuesday. “The murders were savage and apparently unprovoked, and the evidence supports an inference that appellant premeditated the manner of killing.”

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The bodies of Blaine Talmo Jr., 14, and Christopher McCulloch, 13, both of whom died of blunt-force head trauma, were found July 23, 2000, on a secluded playground at Valley View Elementary School. A 16-pound rock was found next to Blaine’s head, and Christopher had a 60-pound bench lying across his chest and neck.

Demirdjian’s lawyer, Charles T. Mathews, said his client, who was 15 at the time, merely witnessed the killings, which were committed by a drug dealer.


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