[UPDATED with Plea, Weapon, Purported Suspect Photo:] Elvis Kechechian, OC Homicide No. 24: Stabbed in Restaurant Melee
UPDATE, JUNE 29, 2:42 P.M.: 28-yearold Justin Alvin Masao Tombleson pleaded not guilty this week to the murders-by-stabbing of Santa Margarita Catholic High School ice hockey conditioning coach Elvis Kechechian and his friend Bajador Hossain Saidian.*
Tombleson is due back in court July 15, but the more interesting detail to come out of Monday's hearing was the identification of the weapon the Lake Forest resident allegedly used on the victims.
Speaking of I.D.'s, that is supposedly the suspect at right.
[*Name corrected since earlier versions.]
Martin Henderson reports for Rancho Santa Margarita Patch that the weapon was a pocket knife.
Gucciwolf.com is a site run by "a regular guy that likes what he likes and hates what he hates. I'm trying to keep companies honest and bring a little sunshine to this world of dark corporate 'buy me' because it's on TV world we live in." While authorities have yet to release a booking photo of Tombleson, Gucciwolf has shed a little sunshine on the double-murder case by posting the photo below that he claims is of the suspect.
Gucciwolf also has video of the Lake Forest crime scene.
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UPDATE, JUNE 15, 4:41 P.M.: The arraignment announcement for Justin Alvin Masao Tombleson, who is accused of killing Santa Margarita Catholic High School's ice hockey coach Elvis Kechechian, reveals more details about Saturday morning's stabbings as well as the identity of the second victim.
Prosecutors today requested that Tombleson, 28, of Lake Forest, be held in lieu of $1 million bail.
He was charged today with one felony count of murder, one felony count of attempted murder, and sentencing enhancements for the personal use of a deadly weapon, causing great bodily injury, and a prior strike conviction for assault causing great bodily injury in 2005. If convicted, Tombleson faces a maximum sentence ranging from 15 years to life up to 60 years to life in state prison.
The Orange County Sheriff's Department, citing "an active, ongoing investigation," declined to release a booking photo of the defendant. The sheriff's office and the Orange County District Attorney's office (OCDA) are still gathering more evidence about the stabbings and searching for other witnesses and suspects. Anyone with information that can help them is asked to contact Supervising District Attorney Investigator Randy Litwin at 714.347.8492 or the sheriff's Homicide Bureau at 714.647.7055.
Meanwhile, today's OCDA statement fills in more details about what happened around 2 a.m. Saturday at Albatros Mexican Food restaurant on Rockfield in Lake Forest. Kechechian, his brother and two friends went into the restaurant to grab a late-night bite. While Kechechian waited in line, the others went to the restroom.
A woman cut in line in front of Kechechian, and when his brother and friends returned, he told them. That led to a verbal fight that had Kechechian's unidentified brother spitting on the woman. That led to an even louder spat between Kechechian's group and the woman's, so loud that the owner of Albatros asked them all to leave his restaurant.
As everyone was making their way to the parking lot, the woman used her cell phone to call her boyfriend, Tombleson, who was already on his way there. He arrived in time for a physical fight, and he is alleged to have pulled a knife out of his pocket and stabbed Kechechian in the chest, perforating the coach's heart. Tombleson is also accused of stabbing Kechechian's 32-year-old friend, Bajador Hossain Saidian, in the chest and arm.
Tombleson then fled the scene, and Kechechian and Saidoian were rushed to Mission Hospital in Mission Viejo, where Kechechian was pronounced dead shortly after his arrival and Saidian underwent surgery and remains in critical condition.
Tombleson turned himself in to sheriff's deputies on Monday, but Sheriff Sandra Hutchens just announced his being taken into custody at a press conference this morning. She used the same excuse to explain the delay: "an active, ongoing investigation."
UPDATE, JUNE 15, 11:13 A.M.: At a press conference this morning at theBrad Gates Forensic Science Building in Santa Ana, Sheriff Sandra Hutchens and her investigators announced an arrest in Saturday morning's stabbing-murder of Elvis Kechechian.
Justin Alvin Tombleson, 28, is in custody for the attack outside Albatros Mexican Food restaurant in Lake Forest that claimed the life of the 26-year-old strength and conditioning coach for Santa Margarita Catholic High School's ice hockey team.
The Orange County Register reports that Tombleson has a history of assault and battery arrests.
UPDATE, JUNE 14, 9:43 P.M.: A suspect is reportedly in custody for Saturday morning's stabbing-murder of Elvis Kechechian, the 26-year-old strength and conditioning coach for Santa Margarita Catholic High School's ice hockey team.
An unnamed sheriff official apparently made the disclosure to the Orange County Register without revealing any more information about the suspect or what led investigators to the person.
UPDATE, JUNE 14, 1:06 P.M.: This post mentions the Facebook conversations between the suspect, his friends and the friends of Monday afternoon's stabbing-murder victim Juan Martinez, 12, of Anaheim.
Another reporter tracked the social media comments surrounding the early Saturday morning stabbing-murder of Elvis Kechechian, the 26-year-old strength and conditioning coach for Santa Margarita Catholic High School's ice hockey team.
Sarah de Crescenzo of Lake Forest Patch writes that witnesses began posting about the attack within 90 minutes.
His bio on the Eagles ice hockey team page reports that Kechechian was certified by the National Academy of Sports Medicine and the National Exercise and Sports Trainers Association. Trained as a gymnast, he developed a way to integrate nutrition with physical conditioning, passing that knowledge not only to athletes but business professionals.
"Elvis showed me how to put my body back together and look at life in a whole new way," testified someone identified on the page as "JLR/ Dove Canyon, CA." "I am a different person now and I like the new me a lot better than the old me."
Kechechian and an unidentified male friend were among about a dozen people at the restaurant at 23591 Rockfield Blvd., Lake Forest, around 2 a.m. What began as a verbal argument led to the melee outside involving two women and four men, according to the Orange County Sheriff's Department. Kechechian's friend was also taken to Mission Hospital, where he underwent surgery and was listed in critical condition.
Investigators who zeroed in on one unidentified male suspect being the knifeman were having a composite sketch drawn. Authorities also asked two female witnesses captured on the establishment's surveillance video to come forward. You can make out the side profile of one woman and the rear view of the other by clicking on the photo tab of the Register report linked above. Anyone with information is asked to contact the sheriff's department at 866.847.6273.
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