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2 Men Convicted for Murdering Man Who Sent Insulting Text Message

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The case of the "text message murder" has come to a close, as two men were convicted Friday of murder and conspiracy, and two other men convicted of conspiracy, for the 2009 shooting death of a 19-year-old Valley man.The "text message murder" was so named because the plot to kill Mike Yepremyan originated after the victim sent a text message to his girlfriend that insulted one of the four suspects, Khatun Vardanian. Vardanian saw the message and wanted Yepremyan beat up.

Vardanian, along with Zareh Manjikian, Vahagn Jurian, and Hovik Dzuryan, set up a meeting with the victim on November 18, 2009, in the parking lot of the Sears in North Hollywood. According to the indictment, Jurian struck Yepremyan in the face with his fist during the confrontation and Manjikian shot the victim in the back of the head with a 9 mm handgun, explains the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office.

The indictment for all four defendants was handed down by a grand jury last year. While Dzhuryan and Vardanian had been free on bail at the time of yesterday's verdict, Judge Greg Dohi ordered the men into custody.

Manjikian had been fugitive in Puerto Rico until he turned himself in last year. He and Jurian have been in police custody since their arrests.

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Sentencing for the four men, now in their early to mid-20s, has been scheduled for August 29. Manjikian faces a sentence of 50 years to life in prison. Jurian faces a 26-year-to-life sentence. The other two defendants face five-year terms.