The father of a dead 5-year-old South Pasadena boy will plead not guilty Monday to murdering his son, according to his new attorney.
Despite widespread publicity focusing on the accused dad and the months-long search for the boy, the lawyer warned against a “rush to judgement.”
“To say it’s a difficult time for him is an understatement, attorney Ambrosio Rodriguez said. “To be in custody, to be accused of something like this, is something that would break anyone.”
Rodriguez said he met with Aramazd Andressian Sr., 35, for the first time on Saturday. “There has been a rush to judgment.” He will ask for a 30-day continuance Monday for more time to prepare his case.
“This is a sad and solemn day for the Andressian family, one they all hoped would never come,” Rodriguez said during a brief news conference Saturday. “The family mourns the death of Ara Junior and are in seclusion grieving.”
The remains of Aramazd Andressian Jr. were discovered Friday near the Lake Cachuma Recreation Area in Santa Barbara County, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
Homicide detectives had returned to the area in an effort to locate additional evidence. He had been missing since April 21. No additional information was released by the Sheriff’s Information Bureau.
Ed Winter, assistant chief of the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office, said an autopsy would be conducted on the boy early next week. Winter also said tests would have to be conducted before his office officially identifies the body, but sheriff’s detectives believe it is Andressian Jr.
The boy’s father has been charged with murder and arrived Friday in Southern California from Las Vegas, where he was arrested on June 23.
He could face up to 25 years to life in state prison if convicted, and is set to be arraigned Monday at the Alhambra courthouse.
The youngster was last seen at 1 a.m. April 21 leaving Disneyland with his father, who was found unconscious at Arroyo Seco Park in South Pasadena the next day and was unable to account for his son’s whereabouts.
Sheriff’s homicide Lt. Joe Mendoza alleged the killing was “pre- planned” and took place between the time Andressian and his son left Disneyland and when the father was discovered unconscious at the South Pasadena park.
Andressian told investigators he arrived at the park with his son and waited for the golf course to open, and admitted ingesting prescription medication that was not prescribed to him, Mendoza said. Andressian had been uncooperative and had given false information to investigators since he fell under suspicion, Mendoza said.
The father said he did not remember what happened to his child or any details that were useful in locating the boy, according to Mendoza, who said a prescription bottle was found inside Andressian’s car, which was doused with gasoline inside and out.
Mendoza alleged that Andressian planned his son’s murder to get back at his estranged wife during a “tumultuous” divorce and then tried to commit suicide — before heading to Las Vegas to prepare to flee the country.
The investigation into the boy’s disappearance included several weeks of surveillance, during which the suspect “significantly” changed his appearance, acted in a manner inconsistent with the behavior of a grieving parent and appeared to be planning to flee to a country from which he could not be extradited, Mendoza said.
Andressian Sr. was originally arrested in Los Angeles County shortly after his son went missing, but was later released for lack of evidence.
The search for the boy spanned several Southern California counties, including in the Lake Cachuma Recreation Area, where Andressian told authorities he took the boy the day after the Disneyland trip.
Andressian Sr.’s former attorney, Daniel Nardoni, released a statement of condolence to the boy’s family Saturday and told City News Service that he was no longer representing the father as of last Tuesday.
–City News Service
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