A Los Angeles man convicted of murdering a clerk at a Los Feliz gas station and the owner of a Mar Vista medical marijuana dispensary during robberies carried out one day apart and caught on video was sentenced Friday to two consecutive life prison terms without the possibility of parole.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Curtis B. Rappe imposed the sentence on Kayshon Lamont Moody, 27, who was convicted last Oct. 29 of first-degree murder for the Jan. 17, 2017, shooting death of M.D. Mizu Rahman, 34, at a Chevron station in the 2100 block of North Vermont Avenue and the shooting death of Ovik Oganesyan, 50, at a medical marijuana dispensary at 12480 W. Venice Blvd. a day later.
In a statement read in court on her behalf by a family member, Oganesyan’s widow, Armik Iskandaryan, wrote that attending Moody’s court proceedings has given her “somewhat of the closure I need.”
“I never got to say goodbye to him. That was taken away from me. Instead, I sat in this room watching videos of him being shot, seeing images that have forever changed me, and then was forced to go home and not have my husband to talk to,” the victim’s wife wrote, noting that the couple would have celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary last year. “My husband, the father of my children and the love of my life, is not here with me today because he was ruthlessly shot.”
Addressing the defendant directly, the victim’s widow wrote, “You stripped the love of my life away from me. You deliberately, intentionally and without remorse decided that he should no longer live. You decided that he should no longer take another breath, that he should no longer be able to go home to his wife and children, to speak to his siblings and friends. You decided that he should not be able to fulfill any plans he had for the long life he had left to live. You had no right. Your despicable actions have brought a wave of unending grief and anguish into our family. It has brought upon more hardships and pain than you will ever know.”
Kristina Oganesyan told the judge that the victim was her favorite uncle and the “go-to guy for everyone to fix literally everything.”
“The monster that sits before you took away the brightest light in our family. …” she said, adding that she also wanted to see justice served for Rahman’s family “as he has nobody here on his behalf as they are thousands of miles away.”
Kristina Oganesyan’s husband, Sevak Grigorian, spoke directly to the defendant, saying that Moody didn’t even know how many lives he had impacted.
“But you probably wouldn’t care just like you didn’t when you took his life away. So I hope you get the maximum sentence allowed by law and die in prison,” Grigorian said. “You do not deserve an ounce of pity. You are a coward and I wish the worst for you in the remaining years of your life.”
Along with the murders, jurors found Moody guilty of three counts of second-degree robbery involving the two murder victims and a separate robbery at a fast-food restaurant shortly before Rahman’s slaying.
Jurors also found true the special circumstance allegations of murder during the commission of a robbery and multiple murders, along with finding gun allegations true.
The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office opted before the trial not to seek the death penalty against Moody.
In a sentencing memorandum, Deputy District Attorneys Beth Silverman and Christina Lutz wrote that Moody “displayed a shocking level of gratuitous violence.”
“Defendant’s complete lack of remorse and disregard for the value of human life indicates he is a danger to the community and the court must act accordingly to protect society,” the prosecutors wrote.
Co-defendant James A. Eastland — who had been indicted along with Moody for Oganesyan’s killing — pleaded guilty last Sept. 21 to murder and robbery charges involving Oganesyan’s killing, along with an unrelated robbery. He testified on behalf of the prosecution in Moody’s trial and is facing 40 years to life in state prison, with sentencing set next Friday.
Eastland told jurors that Moody had talked with him about wanting to commit a robbery and told him he knew of a marijuana dispensary that didn’t have a security guard. But he said he didn’t realize they were going to rob the Golden State Dispensary until Moody informed him when they arrived at the rear of the building. He testified that he waited in the lobby until he heard gunshots, then ran toward a locked door, jumped through the shattered reception window and began grabbing jars of marijuana as Oganesyan pleaded for help.
Eastland said he didn’t recall stepping over the mortally wounded man to get to the business’ safe, but realized he had once he watched surveillance video of the crime.
Eastland — who said he had known Moody for about five months before the killing — said his friend subsequently directed him to rob a store to get more cash, with Moody saying he couldn’t go into the business because people there knew him.
Eastland said the two subsequently drove to Las Vegas, where Moody shot at another motorist who chased after him following a rear-end collision. Prosecutors contended Moody also shot and wounded a man during an attempted carjacking soon after the crash, but he was not charged with any crimes in Nevada.
The two men were pulled over and arrested by Los Angeles police on Jan. 20, 2017, shortly after they returned to Southern California.
In her closing argument in Moody’s trial, Silverman told jurors that no mercy was shown to the victims, who were “taken by surprise” and each shot in the back in acts of “gratuitous” violence, even though the victims were “compliant” and “submissive.”
The prosecutor called the crimes “extremely ruthless” and said the victims were “savagely murdered” in crimes caught on video.
DNA evidence from a soda cup lid found at the scene of Rahman’s killing and on a 9 mm Beretta — the murder weapon that was found in the driver’s side pocket of the Nissan Versa Moody was driving when he and Eastland were arrested — linked Moody to the killings, Silverman said.
Moody’s driver’s license, which was seen falling from his hands in the surveillance video at the marijuana dispensary — was left behind at the scene, the prosecutor said, telling jurors there was a “mountain of evidence in this case.”
Moody’s attorney, Hui Kim, told jurors she understood they would feel sympathy for the victims, but asked them to “objectively determine” whether Moody was responsible for the killings. She urged the panel to question Eastland’s testimony linking Moody to Oganesyan’s killing, noting that he had acknowledged lying to detectives in the past and was “receiving a benefit for testifying.”
“Someone who’s motivated in that manner can’t be trusted,” Moody’s lawyer told jurors.