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Brawl case is called 'poorly investigated'

March melee resulted in several stab wounds and four arrests.

December 08, 2011|By Veronica Rocha, veronica.rocha@latimes.com

Attorneys representing six alleged Glendale gang members and associates asked a Los Angeles County Superior court judge this week to dismiss attempted murder charges against their clients, claiming the prosecution’s case was riddled with holes.

The defendants, ranging in age from 16 to 24, allegedly took part in the March 7 brawl with a group of Glendale residents at Pacific Park that resulted in the assault of Hovhannes Babujyan, according to a Los Angeles County Superior Court complaint.

Babujyan remained unconscious for a day after he was struck on the head with a brick during the brawl, officials said.

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Those charged in the brawl include: David Luna, 18, Tony Rios, 18, Thomas Salinas, 24, Christopher Andasol, 17, and brothers Christian and Edgar Gonzalez, 16 and 17, respectively.

Attorneys for the defendants said county Deputy District Atty. Elizabeth Padilla neglected to explain how four of their clients sustained multiple stab wounds in the incident.

Judge Michael Carter will announce his decision Dec. 15 on whether the prosecution presented sufficient evidence to move forward to trial with charges filed against the defendants.

“I think it’s a poorly investigated case,” defense attorney Michael Carney said in the Burbank courtroom Wednesday at the conclusion of a four-day preliminary hearing.

The attorneys claimed Padilla completely ignored the stabbing injuries, and created credibility issues by focusing only on Babujyan’s injury.

Rios, Salinas and both Gonzalez brothers suffered multiple stab wounds during the incident.

“We have no testimony or evidence on how the fight actually went down,” Alternate Public Defender Thomas Lee said.

According to Glendale police, the defendants left a birthday party about 11:23 p.m. at the park and began walking along the 500 block of Vine Street when they ran into a second group of men and women who officials said were not gang members.

After asking for cigarettes, the defendants began harassing the other group, which was headed to a church event, and a fight broke out, police said.

At some point during the fight, Babujyan was hit with a six-pound brick and the defendants were stabbed.

But the defense team pointed out that Babujyan and his friends didn’t immediately notify police, instead retreating to a friend’s home.

When officers arrived at the park, they found Rios, Salinas and the Gonzalez brothers with stab wounds.

Padilla claimed the “unprovoked attack” on the group was committed for the benefit of a Glendale-based gang because the victims told police they had seen the group displaying gang signs and saying a gang name.

Glendale police Det. Jeff Davis testified that Edgar Gonzalez, Luna and Salinas belonged to the gang, while Andasol, Rios and Christian Gonzalez have never admitted to being members.

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