Brothers plead guilty to death plot
LOS ANGELES -- A murder-for-hire plan with Glendale ties that included
FBI informants and a staged death took a step Monday toward “case closed”
with arranged guilty pleas from two brothers.
Garen and Archak Zakarian signed plea agreements that day, saying they
were guilty of conspiring to kill the estranged husband of Archak’s
lover, Kristine Arutunyan. Arutunyan, who lived in Glendale, and her
husband, Artur Simonian, were promised thousands of dollars to falsify
testimony in a previous case for Garen Zakarian, officials have said.
When Simonian refused, a plot to kill him was hatched, prosecutors said.
Garen Zakarian, who was serving an 85-year prison sentence in the
previous case, contacted another inmate to arrange Simonian’s slaying,
according to court documents. The inmates’ brothers, who were not
incarcerated, acted as outside intermediaries.
The Zakarians agreed to pay between $10,000 and $15,000 for the
slaying -- provided that a picture of the dead body was produced to prove
the deed had been carried out, according to the plea agreement.
Instead, the hit men contacted federal officials, who explained the
“Simonian was transported to a Hollywood studio where professional
makeup artists used their considerable skills to make Simonian appear
dead after having suffered a bullet wound to the head,” said Thom Mrozek,
a spokesman for the United States Attorney’s office.
Archak Zakarian met with the hit men in a Glendale restaurant, where
he was given a picture of Simonian’s body, officials said.
“[He] was arrested in the parking lot, with the picture in his hand,”
Mrozek said, adding that Glendale and Anaheim police assisted in the
The Zakarians are scheduled to be sentenced in February. Arutunyan,
who previously pleaded guilty to making false statements to federal
officials, is set to be sentenced in January.