College seeks felony charges

SOUTHEAST GLENDALE — Glendale Community College police are hoping a delay Tuesday in the arraignment of a Glendale man facing misdemeanor charges for allegedly battering a teacher will give them time to persuade prosecutors to up the charges to a felony.

A Glendale Superior Court judge postponed the arraignment of former Glendale Community College student Grayr Markosyan, who is accused of attacking a teacher in February, to give attorneys more time to prepare.

Markosyan is accused of hitting college English instructor Ida Ferdman shortly before 7 a.m. on Feb. 19. Witnesses say Markosyan struck Ferdman in the head twice, Glendale College Police Capt. Nidal Kobaissi said. No weapons were involved, campus police said.

Markosyan fled the campus after the incident and was arrested the next day when he returned to the college for questioning, campus police said.

While campus police officials have declined to comment on Ferdman’s injuries, the extent to which she was harmed could be the focal point as the pending case continues.

“That’s the whole case,” Kobaissi said.

Ferdman has not returned to work since the alleged attack, he said.

Battery of a school employee is considered a misdemeanor in California unless the victim is injured, in which case the crime is treated as a felony, Kobaissi said.

If convicted of a felony, Markosyan could face up to $2,000 in fines and up to two years in prison. The pending misdemeanor charge carries the same potential fine, but only up to one year behind bars.

“We’re still pushing for the felony charge,” Kobaissi said. “[The penal code] says it’s a felony if she’s injured. There’s going to be some different interpretations there, but we think an injury could be if she was scratched.”

Los Angeles County district attorney’s office representatives said Tuesday’s continuance of the hearing was merely procedural, and that unless new evidence is presented the misdemeanor charge will remain.

“Based on evidence presented, this is a misdemeanor offense,” said Shiara Davila, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles district attorney’s office. “If at some point new evidence is presented, we’ll review it and make a determination as to how to proceed. The fact that the pretrial hearing was put over is totally routine.”

Jilbert Tahmazian, the attorney representing Markosyan, did not return calls for comment.

The alleged attack remains a tender issue on the college campus, Kobaissi said.

“She’s very sensitive right now and would prefer not to talk about it, but I know she wants a chance to talk to the court when that day comes,” he said, speaking of Ferdman.

The college has a restraining order against Markosyan, but securing the order was not as rapid a process as the campus would have liked, said Larry Serot, the college’s executive vice president.

“It took us a while,” he said, “and we want an immediate response.”

As a future remedy, the college Board of Trustees voted Monday to retain a law firm to provide legal help getting restraining orders in the future, he said. For no more than $5,000 annually, the firm will assist the college in obtaining restraining orders when necessary, Serot said.

“The district took a decision so that in the future we can immediately obtain restraining orders to prevent individuals from returning to campus until an administrative hearing is held and student discipline moves forward,” he said.

The hearing was rescheduled for May 22 in Department 2 of Glendale Superior Court.


 RYAN VAILLANCOURT covers business, politics and the foothills. He may be reached at (818) 637-3215 or by e-mail at ryan.vaillancourt@latimes.com.

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