Justin Alvin Masao Tombleson escaped murder counts when the 30-year-old Lake Forest resident was convicted in May of voluntary manslaughter in the fatal stabbings of a Santa Margarita Catholic High School hockey coach and his friend in 2011.
But the sentence Tombleson received today was still stiff: 30 years and four months in prison.
Of course, that's still better than the maximum he faced for double murder: 67 years to life.
Elvis Kechechian, 26; the brother of the hockey team's strength and conditioning coach Aris Kechechian; his friend Bajador Hossain Saidian, 32; and another friend went to Albatros Mexican Food on Rockfield in Lake Forest around 2 a.m. on June 11, 2011 after a night of drinking.
As Elvis Kechechian, who also owned a personal-training business, stood in line for food, the others went to the restroom. A verbal argument with a woman in line broke out just as Kechechian's party returned. The restaurant owner asked Kechechian's group and the woman's group to all leave.
As everyone was making their way to the parking lot, the woman called Tombleson, her boyfriend, who arrived with some more friends, leading to a brawl. Tombleson pulled out a knife, Kechechian was stabbed and he'd be dead within an hour. Saidian, who was stabbed multiple times in the chest and arm, was declared brain dead a few days later and he soon passed away.
Typically a manslaughter conviction brings a 15-year prison sentence, but Tombleson was eligible for additional time because he pleaded guilty in 2005 to felony battery with serious bodily injury and assault with a deadly weapon likely to produce great bodily injury.
According to an Orange County District Attorney's office conviction statement:
At the sentencing today, Saidian's stepfather Fred Abri gave a victim impact statement and said that when the sentencing hearing concludes and the court and attorneys go home, his family will still have to live with this tragedy for the rest of their lives. He also said that his wife hasn't been the same since Saidian's death and that Abri has been trying each day to remind her that she still has a family that needs her.
Saidian's girlfriend Anna Villar said, in part, “The day that Hossein died, I died as well.”
A friend of the Kechechian family, Jeri Rosenbaum, told the court that she gave the eulogy at Kechechian's funeral and that the people who carried his casket were all teen students that Kechechian had coached, which is a testament to the many lives he has touched.