03 September 2012

3367) Armenian Assassin Hampig Sassounian's Parole Pushed



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By Gene Maddaus
The case of Hampig Sassounian has been a cause celebre within the local Armenian community for nearly 30 years. In 1982, Sassounian and an accomplice assassinated the Turkish consul general, in an act of revenge for the Armenian genocide.

Sassounian was convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison. But ever since, a dedicated group of Armenian activists has been campaigning for his release.

Those activists have now turned their attention to the race for L.A. County district attorney. The D.A. has opposed Sassounian's requests for parole in the past.

But in endorsement interviews with the Armenian National Committee last week, the L.A. Weekly has learned, three D.A. candidates were asked to take a neutral position when he comes up for parole again in 2013
. . .
According to the candidates, it's the only time that a particular case has been raised in an endorsement interview.

Each of the three campaigns tell the Weekly that they made no commitments on the Sassounian case.

"Carmen Trutanich is not going to prejudge any case before he gets to the D.A.'s office," says spokesman Dave Jacobson. "He said he would be open to it. But he's not going to form some sort of judgment on the case without having all the details in front of him."

"I listened to what they had to say," says Chief Deputy Jackie Lacey, who was more familiar with the case. "I did not make any commitments one way or the other."

"I indicated there was absolutely no way I would prejudge a case," says prosecutor Alan Jackson. "I haven't read the file or had access to it or been associated with it."

William Bairamian, the executive director of the ANC Western Region, declines to discuss the Sassounian case, or even confirm whether it came up in the endorsement interview.

"I'm not aware of what you're referring to," Bairamian says. "Our endorsement process is not something I'm going to comment on."

The candidates say that the ANC representatives made it clear the case was very important to the group. The ANC has yet to announce its endorsement in the race, and has not said whether it will make a selection before Tuesday's primary vote. The other candidates on the ballot -- Danette Meyers, Bobby Grace, and John Breault -- were not invited.

Sassounian admitted guilt and renounced terrorism and political assassinations as part of an agreement with the district attorney's office in 2002. Under that deal, Sassounian's sentence was converted from life without parole to 25 years to life, with the possibility of parole.

D.A. Steve Cooley has opposed parole at two previous hearings, in 2006 and 2010, and parole has been denied.

"This is a hate-based killing," Cooley tells the Weekly. "We think killing people in a premeditated way based on their ethnicity is one of the worst things around."

Armand Arabian, a retired California Supreme Court justice, spoke in favor of paroling Sassounian at the most recent hearing.

"I don't condone anybody shooting somebody else. He was a young person who was misguided. He's done a lot of years up there," Arabian says.

Arabian is supporting Trutanich, but says he has never spoken about the case with him. Mark Geragos, who has long served as Sassounian's attorney, is also backing Trutanich.

"No one can tell the D.A. what position to take in advance," Arabian says. "I wouldn't make this an issue, and I don't think it should be."

Comments
Decent_American
Another reason NOT to support Carman LIE-tanich. Based on his history of lies, I'm positive he met with the Armos and secretly agreed to support parole for this filthy killer if he gets elected.

anonymous
I'm sick and tired of the Armenian community and their 19th century genocide. We don't care & don't foist your views on public officials who have to be fair to the rest of the constituents.


Steven Thadeus
hey anonymous, you may be sick, you may be tired of us. but we will never be silenced. we swear this to be true. the year could be 3012, and i will guarantee you that the truth will always rise above the hatred and the denial. my ancestors will not have died in vain. sorry for the traffic, on april 24th, and how it impedes on your commute; but if you felt what we felt you'd give up everything you claim to hold close to your heart to have one chance to have the world hear you out and know the stories you grandparents told you are real. the tears are real. the displacement is real. 100 years is not that long ago. if you knew the pain and how it ripples throughout the generations and the decades, you'd know this to be true. maybe one day you'll be open minded, and make a friend with a fellow armenian-american. maybe then you'll get a glimpse of the truth.

as for the comparison that yuval makes above; it's unfounded and an inaccurate comparison. the turkish diplomat was a device for genocide denial and was also directly responsible for espousing the denial and the continued mistreatment for the remaining armenians throughout turkish lands, for the desecration of thousand year old armenian churches; for all that did he deserve to die? i, personally do not think so. that should have been up to a judge or a jury to decide. unfortunately, as they say, in many cases justice is nothing not the only right in this world. especially in this case, with the armenian genocide being denied and questioned, where it is not blind.

hampig has done his time, and was very young, (hardly an adult) and there are serial rapists and killers who have done much less time than he has. he has been remorseful and a model in terms of good behavior and has done nothing but cooperate with authorities.


Beefcow
Bottom line: Hampig murdered someone in cold blood for no good reason. He deserves life like any other cold blooded murderer. Adult? Did his time? Tell that to the 14 yr old gangster doing LWOP.Cool name though: Ham-Pig.

Paul Steven
yeah...you must be really tired of Jews talking about how their families where baked in ovens. Must be rough to live your life.

getalife
And you must be real tired of hearing Palestinians complain about human rights violation by the Israelis.

It Wasnt Me!!!
Well the funny thing is if there were a Armenian genocide, what the hell did the USA have to do with it??? NOTHING!!! Take your bitching and moaning to the countries that were actually involved! This is all a ploy for reparation bucks from the Turks anyway. And take a bath once in a while for God's sake, ya stink!

Cows_are_stupid
That nickname perfectly suits you. A "Beefcow" with a brain of a cow. The only thing which really stinks is your mouth which spews out hatred and BS and who the hell you think you are to tell American citizens of Armenian origin to take their case somewhere else, Mr. BeefCOW

Yuval Kremer
They're backing Trutanich b/c he's soft on "VIP Crime"...just like he didn't go after party girl and frequent car crasher Amanda Bynes recently...expect A LOT of Celebs and Rich people to literally get away with Murder if and when Nuch Trutanich becomes DA...he's a Special Interest City Attorney and he'll be a Special Interest County DA. White Collar Criminals Rejoice! Carmen The Clown's Acomin' into office and the author of this article and other pro-scumbag politician pieces will be his Official PR Spokeshole !

Gotta love how Gene belittles a Terrorist's Murder of a Consul General: "In 1982, Sassounian and an accomplice assassinated the Turkish consul general, in an act of revenge for the Armenian genocide."

So, tell us, Gene: When did the Armenian Genocide take place? Wikipedia says 1915-1923...so, what was this victim's misdeed besides being a Spokeshole for Lying Politicians? Do you see the error of your ways, Gene? How can the Murder be an "act of revenge for the Armenian genocide", when the victim took no part in it and likely wasn't alive at the time of its occurence? Does that mean that terrorists can kill you and me for being Americans in revenge for Obama's ILLEGAL LIBYAN WAR 4 OIL $$$, even though we had nothing to do with it, and that would be A-OK by you? That's actually not a good example, since that occurred during our adulthood, we are not spokespeople for its perpetrators (actually, a few LA Weekly writers seem to be Obama Administration spokesholes), and the perpretrator (Obama) may yet be tried for War Crimes and Impeached...

Sounds like they cut a deal with Nuch, who apparently has a soft spot for Cold-Blooded Murderers Who Will KILL AGAIN After Nuch Releases Them.

Don't Nuke Our Justice System...Vote for Jackie Lacey !
laweekly.com
Fri., Jun. 1 2012
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