LOS ANGELES (CNS) — A 22-year-old man was sentenced on Wednesday, Oct. 20, to 21 years in state prison for his role as an accomplice in a Sun Valley killing that was motivated by a plot to collect on a $2.5 million life insurance payout.
Nazaret “Nick” Bayamdzhyan pleaded no contest Sept. 12 to voluntary manslaughter and admitted a gun allegation stemming from the April 24, 2013, killing of 33-year-old Joshua West.
“It’s very scary what can happen to a young mind controlled by people around you,” Bayamdzhyan’s attorney, Karine Basmadjian, said outside court.
“He was just frightened. He was entirely at the wrong place at the wrong time. That’s another life lost, I think.”
Bayamdzyhan entered his plea after two other men — Hovanes “John” Maskovian and his younger brother, Hachik “Kriss” Maskovian — were convicted in June of first-degree murder for killing West, who was Hovanes Maskovian’s ex-boyfriend.
Jurors who heard the case against the brothers also found true the special circumstance allegations of murder for financial gain, murder while lying in wait and murder during an attempted kidnapping.
Hovanes Maskovian, 37, was sentenced Aug. 25 to life in prison without the possibility of parole. His 32-year-old brother is facing the same sentence Nov. 2.
Bayamdzhyan acted primarily as a lookout for the two men during the “brutally horrific” attack on West, according to Deputy District Attorney Geoff Lewin.
“Joshua West would not go quickly and he would not go quietly,” Lewin told jurors, noting that a tire iron, a cutting instrument, a car and a gun were used to “finally silence his screams.”
West had broken up with Hovanes Maskovian, but the two continued living together for financial reasons as Hovanes Maskovian’s bills continued to mount up, the prosecutor said.
“There is one bill that John will pay,” Lewin said, referring to life insurance policies that Hovanes Maskovian and West had applied for in 2009.
Two life insurance policies were issued — $2.5 million on West’s life and $3.5 million on the life of Hovanes Maskovian, who was the primary beneficiary on West’s policy, while the second beneficiary was the victim’s brother, the prosecutor said.
The prosecutor called the evidence against the Maskovians “absolutely overwhelming,” noting that a pair of gloves found in a canyon about two miles from the murder scene tested positive for DNA linked to Hachik Maskovian and the victim.