[UPDATED with Plea, Weapon, Purported Suspect Photo:] Elvis Kechechian, OC Homicide No. 24: Stabbed in Restaurant Melee
UPDATE, JUNE 29, 2:42 P.M.: 28-yearold Justin Alvin Masao Tombleson pleaded not guilty this week to the murders-by-stabbing of Santa Margarita Catholic High School ice hockey conditioning coach Elvis Kechechian and his friend Bajador Hossain Saidian.*
Tombleson is due back in court July 15, but the more interesting detail to come out of Monday's hearing was the identification of the weapon the Lake Forest resident allegedly used on the victims.
Speaking of I.D.'s, that is supposedly the suspect at right.
[*Name corrected since earlier versions.]
Martin Henderson reports for Rancho Santa Margarita Patch that the weapon was a pocket knife.
Gucciwolf.com is a site run by "a regular guy that likes what he likes and hates what he hates. I'm
trying to keep companies honest and bring a little sunshine to this
world of dark corporate 'buy me' because it's on TV world we live in." While authorities have yet to release a booking photo of Tombleson, Gucciwolf has shed a little sunshine on the double-murder case by posting the photo below that he claims is of the suspect.
Gucciwolf also has video of the Lake Forest crime scene.
Prosecutors today requested that Tombleson, 28, of Lake Forest, be held in lieu of $1 million bail.
He was charged today with one felony count of murder, one felony
count of attempted murder, and sentencing enhancements for the personal
use of a deadly weapon, causing great bodily injury, and a prior strike
conviction for assault causing great bodily injury in 2005. If
convicted, Tombleson faces a maximum sentence ranging from 15 years to
life up to 60 years to life in state prison.
The Orange County Sheriff's Department, citing "an active, ongoing investigation," declined to release a booking photo of the defendant. The sheriff's office and the Orange County District Attorney's office (OCDA) are still gathering more evidence about the stabbings and searching for other witnesses and suspects. Anyone with information that can help them is asked to contact Supervising District Attorney Investigator Randy Litwin at 714.347.8492 or the sheriff's Homicide Bureau at 714.647.7055.
Meanwhile, today's OCDA statement fills in more details about what happened around 2 a.m. Saturday at Albatros Mexican Food
restaurant on Rockfield in Lake Forest. Kechechian, his brother and two friends went into the restaurant to grab a late-night bite. While Kechechian waited in line, the others went to the restroom.
A woman cut in line in front of Kechechian, and when his brother and friends returned, he told them. That led to a verbal fight that had Kechechian's unidentified brother spitting on the woman. That led to an even louder spat between Kechechian's group and the woman's, so loud that the owner of Albatros asked them all to leave his restaurant.
As everyone was making their way to the parking lot, the woman used her cell phone to call her boyfriend, Tombleson, who was already on his way there. He arrived in time for a physical fight, and he is alleged to have pulled a knife out of his pocket and stabbed Kechechian in the chest, perforating the coach's heart. Tombleson is also accused of stabbing Kechechian's 32-year-old friend, Bajador Hossain Saidian, in the chest and arm.
Tombleson then fled the scene, and Kechechian and Saidoian were rushed to Mission Hospital in Mission Viejo, where Kechechian
was pronounced dead shortly after his arrival and Saidian underwent surgery and remains in critical condition.
Tombleson turned himself in to sheriff's deputies on Monday, but Sheriff Sandra Hutchens just announced his being taken into custody at a press conference this morning. She used the same excuse to explain the delay: "an active, ongoing investigation."