Victim's family to be paid

PASADENA — A Superior Court judge ordered Thursday that more than $7,400 be paid to family members of Elizabeth Sandoval, who was struck and killed by a Mercedes-Benz driven by Ara Grigoryan.

Grigoryan, who was sentenced to 11 years in prison for Sandoval’s death, was ordered to pay $7,272 to the State Victims Compensation Board for funeral and burial costs.

Judge Janice Croft also ruled that Grigoryan must pay $200 to Elizabeth Sandoval’s father, Guadalupe Sandoval, for funeral costs not covered by the compensation board.

Sandoval’s family requested that only that amount to be paid back to them, Deputy Dist. Atty. Casey Higgins said.

“It’s the D.A.’s understanding, after we spoke to the family, the rest of the costs would be picked up through the civil trial,” he said.

But Guadalupe Sandoval, who was not in court during the hearing, spoke to Higgins afterward and told him that there was an error in the amount owed to them, he said. He said he is owed $12,000 to $15,000 for funeral and burial costs.

The family has already reached a tentative settlement of $30,000 in a civil case against Grigoryan, Guadalupe Sandoval said.

“They don’t have the money. How can we sue them if they don’t have anything?” he said. “But in the future, if we find out they do have money, we will go after them.”

Grigoryan, 23, of Glendale and his attorney also did not appear at Thursday’s restitution hearing at Pasadena Superior Court.

But Grigoryan waived his right to appear at the hearing during his March 12 sentencing.

Croft granted a request by his former attorney, Christopher Pfau, to be relieved from the case during the sentencing hearing. Pfau didn’t say his reason for leaving.

Grigoryan took an offer during his sentencing of 11 years in prison in exchange for his plea of no contest to vehicular manslaughter and fleeing the scene of an accident. The charge of second-degree murder was dropped in return for his plea.

His plea came after nearly two years of court proceedings for the July 10, 2007, death of Sandoval.

Grigoryan hit Sandoval, 24, with his mother’s car as she jaywalked across South Glendale Avenue just south of East Windsor Road.

He did not stop after striking her and fled to Mexico.

His mother’s car was found in Van Nuys with recent body work to its front end and grill, police said.

The car has remained in the Glendale Police Department’s custody and at a city tow yard since it was seized, Det. Bill Frommling said.

Grigoryan’s parents continued to make payments on the car while it was in lockup, and it has accumulated about $18,000 in tow yard fees, he said.

But his parents still want the car, along with other evidence seized when the case began, he said.

Frommling, who worked on the case for nearly two years, is now trying to figure out what do with all of the evidence that Grigoryan’s family has requested to be released and returned.

Frommling expects a court hearing regarding the issue.


 VERONICA ROCHA covers public safety and the courts. She may be reached at (818) 637-3232 or by e-mail at veronica.rocha@latimes.com.

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