4 arraigned in text-prompted North Hollywood murder

NORTH HOLLYWOOD, LOS ANGELES

Van Nuys residents Zareh Manjikian, 24, and Vahagn Jurian, 24, pleaded not guilty to one count each of conspiracy to commit a crime and murder in the Nov. 18, 2009, fatal shooting of Gombert "Mike" Yepremyan.

The indictment also charges Van Nuys residents Hovik Dzhuryan, 19, and his sister, Khatun Vardanian, 22, with one count each of conspiracy. Dzhuryan and Vardanian each pleaded not guilty.

Yepremyan was fatally shot in the parking lot of a Sears store in North Hollywood at Victory and Laurel Canyon the night of Nov. 18, 2009.

The D.A. alleges Jurian struck Yepremyan in the face with his fist, and Manjikian shot Yepremyan in the back of the head with a 9mm handgun.

The incident allegedly stemmed from Yepremyan sending a text message to his girlfriend in which he insulted Vardanian. The D.A. alleges Vardanian saw the message and told her brother, Dzhuryan, to beat up Yepremyan.

The D.A. alleges Yepremyan began receiving calls from Dzhuryan, Jurian and others, telling him to meet them at the Sears parking lot.

Zareh Manjikian subsequently fled the country. After an international manhunt, Manjikian surrendered to police in July. He was held on $8 million bail.

Vahagn Jurian was also a fugitive until he was arrested earlier in 2011. Jurian was held on $4 million bail.

Bail was set at $30,000 for Vardanian and $45,000 for Dzhuryan.

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