3 men to stand trial for allegedly killing man for insurance policy

A Glendale man accused of killing his estranged boyfriend to collect on his life insurance policy was ordered to stand trial Wednesday on murder charges.

Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Hayden Zacky ruled that sufficient evidence was presented during a three-day preliminary hearing to move forward with a trial against Hovanes Maskovian, 34, as well his brother Hachik “Kriss” Maskovian, 29, and a friend, 20-year-old Nazaret “Nick” Bayamdzhyan, the Glendale News-Press reported.

“I think I am convinced as to what occurred,” Zacky said in a San Fernando courtroom.

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The brothers and Bayamdzhyan are charged with killing Glendale resident Joshua West, 33. They are also facing special circumstances of lying in wait and murder for financial gain.

The trio is scheduled to appear March 19 to be arraigned.

Prosecutor Geoffrey Lewin said the brothers and Bayamdzhyan reportedly planned to kill West to recover proceeds from his life insurance policy.

“You only get the money if Josh West is dead,” he said in court on Wednesday.

The three men, he alleged, set up West by luring him with a story about acquiring a cellphone.

West reportedly met up with Hovanes Maskovian, his brother and Bayamdzhyan last April 24 in the 10700 block of Vinedale Street, where witnesses told investigators they saw him being assaulted, a Los Angeles Police officer testified this week.

He was able to break free during the attack and tried to solicit help from a passing motorist, who reportedly saw the assault and yelled at his attackers to stop.

Hovanes Maskovian allegedly told investigators that he got into West’s Mercedes and drove toward him in an attempt to rescue him. But he reportedly lost control of the vehicle and struck West, a detective said.

Bayamdzhyan told detectives that Hachik Maskovian allegedly retrieved a gun from his tow truck and shot West.

Hachik Maskovian and Bayamdzhyan reportedly picked up West’s body, placed him inside the tow truck and fled the scene, a detective testified.

Additional investigation found that Maskovian called a State Farm insurance agent the day before the killing to inquire about his and West’s insurance policies.

Hachik Maskovian’s attorney Alex Kessel said his client’s co-defendants had credibility problems because of the discrepancies in their statements.

Bayamdzhyan’s attorney Karine Basmadjian argued that there was insufficient evidence on the murder charge, but that he could be held for assault.

Rocha writes for Times Community News.

Follow Veronica Rocha on Google+ and on Twitter: @VeronicaRochaLA.