For Immediate Release
Susan Kang Schroeder
MAN SENTENCED TO 30 YEARS AND FOUR MONTHS IN STATE PRISON FOR VOLUNTARY MANSLAUGHTER OF TWO MEN IN LAKE FOREST PARKING LOT FIGHT
SANTA ANA – A man was sentenced today to 30 years and four months in state prison for the voluntary manslaughter of two men by stabbing both victims during a fight in a Lake Forest parking lot. The first victim died shortly after the attack and the second died six days later in the hospital. Justin Alvin Masao Tombleson, 30, Lake Forest, was found guilty by a jury May 23, 2013, of two felony counts of voluntary manslaughter and sentencing enhancements for the personal use of a deadly weapon. The defendant has prior prison convictions from 2005 for battery with serious bodily injury (Strike conviction) and assault with a deadly weapon likely to produce great bodily injury.
At approximately 2:00 a.m. on June 11, 2011, 26-year-old Elvis Kechechian was at a Mexican restaurant in Lake Forest with his 32-year-old friend Hossein Saidian, Kechechian’s brother, and another friend. Kechechian and his brother became involved in a verbal altercation with other customers in the restaurant and Kechechian’s brother spit on a woman. The argument escalated between Kechechian’s friends and the woman’s friends, and they were subsequently asked by the owner to leave the restaurant. The woman called her boyfriend, Tombleson, who was already on his way to the restaurant.
Upon arriving, Tombleson attempted to assault the victims in the parking lot near the victims’ car. A physical fight broke out between the defendant and victims. When Tombleson’s friends arrived to join the altercation, Tombleson pulled a knife out of his pocket.
Tombleson stabbed Kechechian one time in the abdomen, perforating his aorta. He stabbed Saidian in the chest and arm. Both victims were transported to the hospital and Kechechian was pronounced dead shortly after his arrival. Saidian remained in critical condition until June 16, 2011, when he died in the hospital.
The defendant fled the scene with his friends. The Orange County Sheriff’s Department responded to the scene and investigated this case. A knife was located near the crime scene. Tombleson was linked to the knife through DNA. Both victims’ DNA was also identified on the knife.
At the sentencing today, Saidian’s stepfather Fred Abri gave a victim impact statement and said that when the sentencing hearing concludes and the court and attorneys go home, his family will still have to live with this tragedy for the rest of their lives. He also said that his wife hasn’t been the same since Saidian’s death and that Abri has been trying each day to remind her that she still has a family that needs her.
Saidian’s girlfriend Anna Villar said, in part, “The day that Hossein died, I died as well.”
A friend of the Kechechian family, Jeri Rosenbaum, told the court that she gave the eulogy at Kechechian’s funeral and that the people who carried his casket were all teen students that Kechechian had coached, which is a testament to the many lives he has touched.