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A Hollywood man was convicted Tuesday of killing a man he had recently started dating and stuffing the victim’s body in a suitcase found in a trash bin.

The Los Angeles Superior Court jury found Merdan Haydarov, 22, guilty of second-degree murder for the Nov. 23, 2013, killing of 49-year-old Randall Scott Kreeger, whose throat was cut.

Jurors also found true an allegation that Haydarov personally used an edged weapon during the crime, but the panel acquitted Haydarov of first-degree murder.

The two men had apparently met about three weeks before, and there was a “dating aspect” to their relationship, according to Deputy District Attorney Radhika Patel.

Haydarov — who was arrested the day after the victim’s death — subsequently claimed  that Kreeger had touched him inappropriately and that he was trying to defend himself, according to the prosecutor.

Authorities believe, however, that the motive for the killing may have been robbery.

Haydarov told police where to find the victim’s body, which had been left in a trash bin in a suitcase in which he had been shrouded in multiple layers of fabric and trash bags, according to Patel.

The victim’s friends notified police that he was missing after he failed to respond to text messages and did not show up for planned meetings. Surveillance footage from outside the victim’s Koreatown condominium showing Haydarov going in and out of the building multiple times, including leaving with an overstuffed suitcase, Patel said.

Haydarov’s attorney declined to comment on the case.

Haydarov, who is facing 16 years to life in state prison, is due back in a downtown Los Angeles courtroom on Feb. 16 for sentencing.

—City News Service

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