Man sentenced in murder plot


Gretchen Hoffman

LOS ANGELES -- A man was sentenced Monday to nine years in prison in a

murder-for-hire plot that included FBI informants and a staged death.

Garen Zakarian, 37, was ordered to serve the time consecutively with

an 85-year term he is serving in another case, officials said.

Zakarian pleaded guilty Oct. 22 of trying to hire hit men to kill

Arthur Simonian in 1999. His brother, Archak, 32, of Glendale, also

pleaded guilty and will be sentenced June 10.

They offered Simonian and his wife, Kristine Arutunyan of Glendale,

$50,000 to falsify testimony for Garen Zakarian. He is in prison for the

1994 robbery of Glendale travel agent Benita Mikhailian, who was shot to


After Simonian balked at giving a false alibi, the Zakarians began to

arrange his murder, prosecutors said.

The Zakarians agreed to pay $10,000 and asked for a photo of the dead

body as proof. The “hit men” went to FBI agents, who told Simonian and

staged his death.

Arutunyan was sentenced Feb. 11 to three years probation for lying to

the FBI about her relationship with Archak Zakarian.