Murder trial hearing focuses on life policy

A life insurance agent testified Friday that she spoke to a 34-year-old Glendale man — who is accused of killing his estranged boyfriend — about the couple’s policies the day before he was found dead.

Hovanes “John” Maskovian reportedly called Veronica Costa, a State Farm insurance agent, on April 23 of last year to make sure the policies for him and his boyfriend, Joshua West, were “OK,” she said during a preliminary hearing in the Los Angeles Superior Court in San Fernando.

Costa claimed she called Maskovian the next morning to inform him the couple’s life insurance policies were fine.

Then at about 10 p.m. that night, Los Angeles police detectives found West, 33, of Glendale lying dead in the 10200 block of Penrose Street in Sun Valley.

But as West’s death was being investigated, prosecutors have alleged detectives uncovered a complicated murder plot to collect West’s life insurance money.

According to prosecutors, Hovanes Maskovian, his brother Hachik “Kriss” Maskovian, 29, and 19-year-old Nazaret “Nick” Bayamdzhyan, together planned to kill West.

The men, who have remained in police custody since their arrests last year, have been charged with one count each of murder.

Prosecutors alleged they also committed the murder for financial gain, were lying in wait and killed West during a kidnapping attempt.

Coroner investigators said that West was beaten, shot, run over and left for dead.

Costa was the first witness to testify during the men’s preliminary hearing, which will continue Monday.

Still, Hachik Maskovian’s attorney Alex Kessel questioned Costa’s recollection of the dates of her conversations with Hovanes Maskovian and whether her notes clearly reflected those exchanges.

She alleged the couple had obtained separate life insurance policies. West’s policy, she said, was never paid out.

West took out a $2.5-million policy, naming Hovanes Maskovian as one of the beneficiaries, she said.

Hovanes Maskovian also reportedly obtained a life insurance policy for $3.5 million of which his brother and a parent were named as beneficiaries.

Over the years, Costa said she had numerous conversations with Hovanes Maskovian regarding auto and life insurance matters.

She described him as “aggressive” and “pretty demanding if there is something that he wants.”

West’s family members have said that he and Hovanes Maskovian dated for seven years, but they had broken up.

His family said the pair continued to live together in Glendale because it was convenient.


Follow Veronica Rocha on Google+ and on Twitter: @VeronicaRochaLA.


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