Jurors won't hear all evidence in Fresno murder trial
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A Fresno man accused of murder may use alcohol as a partial explanation as his attorney pointed Tuesday to evidence of a blackout caused by heavy drinking.
The alleged murder was by one grandfather against another -- and it's a trial you'll only see on Action News.
Nerses Taschayan, 66, is charged with killing his own grandkids' maternal grandfather. Jurors will never hear that Taschayan told his wife he killed Souren Avetisian that night in Sept. 2008. Spousal privilege means his wife won't have to testify about that conversation. But her testimony will still be a piece of the case against her husband.
Taschayan can't deny he was involved in the violent confrontation that ended in the death of Souren Avetisian. His defense attorney admits Taschayan's own wife could implicate him.
"He had been seen by his wife leaving the house, taking the gun," said defense attorney Jim Lambe. "She followed him and intercepted him as he was leaving the (other) house and escorted him back to their house dripping in blood."
Prosecutors say Taschayan had walked just a few houses from his own to his son's house where Avetisian was babysitting the three grandkids they shared. A simple clue pointed police to their suspect.
"There is a fresh trail of blood leading all the way into the defendant's house," said prosecutor Robert Mangano.
Inside his home, officers found evidence connecting Taschayan to the shooting. But his attorney says Taschayan doesn't remember much of anything from that night. He had just returned from a family trip to a festival in Monterey.
"There was a lot, a lot of drinking by everybody, but especially by Mr. Taschayan," Lambe said.
He said Taschayan's blood alcohol content was about 0.20 at the time of the shooting. But prosecutors say he had the presence of mind to leave the scene, hitting a casino before taking his chances with police.
Taschayan faces a life sentence if he's convicted of murder. The defense is asking for an involuntary manslaughter conviction. If that happened, he'd get a short prison sentence, and after serving it, he'd get deported to Armenia or Russia.
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