2 men sentenced in teen's 'text-message' death

Decrying "how much was lost for so little," a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge Friday sentenced two men to lengthy prison terms for killing a teenager three years ago over an insulting text message.

Zareh Manjikian was sentenced to 50 years to life in state prison, and Vahagn Jurian was given a 25-years-to-life term in the shooting death of 19-year-old Gombert "Mike" Yepremyan.

"The life of a young man … is lost over a single, thoughtless word in a text message," Judge Gregory A. Dohi said. "This is the epitome of senselessness, and that strikes me."

Prosecutors said Yepremyan was targeted in November 2009 after firing off a text message to his girlfriend in which he referred to one of her friends as a "bitch." That friend, Khatun Vardanian, reportedly saw the message, became enraged and called her brother to beat up Yepremyan.

Yepremyan received phone calls from a stranger who asked to meet him at a Sears parking lot in North Hollywood, witnesses said.

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-- Hailey Branson-Potts, Los Angeles Times


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