Parents of Suspect in Maran Murder Sue L.A.P.D. — (Santa Monica Mirror)

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Santa Monica Mirror

The parents of the 17-year-old girl who allegedly killed Santa Monica High School sophomore Deanna Maran in November 2001 have filed a wrongful death claim against the Los Angeles Police Department.

Katrina Sarkissian was taken into custody the morning after Maran was fatally stabbed at a party at a Westwood home. Sarkissian was being questioned by LAPD when she passed out and was pronounced dead later that day. According the an autopsy, Sarkissian had overdosed on antidepressants prior to being questioned by police.

The claim was filed in early May on behalf of Sarkissian’s parents, Angelique and Sarkis Sarkissian. They claim their daughter would have survived had police called for paramedics immediately after she passed out.
The claim says that police thought Sarkissian was having a seizure, and did not act promptly.
The half-sister of Katrina Sarkissian was arraigned last month on a count of battery and one count of making a criminal threat in connection with Maran’s death

 

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Murder in Westwood

Sara Davidson

“Party in Westwood. No parents!”

The cell phones, like tom toms, carried the word from kid to kid across West Los Angeles on a Saturday night, November 17, 2001. Girls in low-rise jeans that showed their midriffs and guys wearing sagging shorts and rhinestone studs started aiming like heat-seeking missiles for a house on Thayer Avenue in the shadow of UCLA.

“Whose house is it? Whose party?”

“Who cares?” said Tim Livingston, as he got off a bus with five other guys and a girl, Deanna Maran. All were fifteen years old, top students and athletes from Santa Monica High School. One punched the address of the house into his cell phone and Map Quest spit out directions how to get there.

By ten p.m., more than a hundred kids from some of the best schools in the city were swarming about the yard, drinking beer and alcoholic lemonade. Deanna, who owned the exotic dark skin and long black hair of her Filipino mother and the tall build of her Czech father, argued with another 15-year-old, Sabrina Bernstein. Deanna told Sabrina to stop running and breaking flower pots. A tussle followed, which prompted Sabrina, in tears, to call her 17-year-old sister, Katrina. “You have to get over here right now,” Sabrina said.

Katrina, a blonde who looked like a starlet, drove up in a black Jeep Grand Cherokee and asked, “Who messed with my sister?” Deanna stepped forward. Minutes later, while dozens of kids were cheering, “Fight! You can take her!” Katrina stabbed Deanna in the heart with a knife that was one inch wide and at least five inches long. Deanna’s friends put her in a car and rushed to Santa Monica Hospital where at 12:15 a.m., she was pronounced dead. The following day, police picked up Katrina but she had seizures in jail and died from an overdose of Pamelor, an anti-depressant.

The tragedy opened a rift in the community about who was at fault: parents who failed to set limits, kids who were over-indulged and had easy access to drugs and alcohol, or our entire violence-addicted culture. The questions are still being fought in the courts and reflect a crisis that is playing out across the country, in small towns as well as cities. Juvenile crimes are rising–notably among girls–and people who used to worry about getting their kids into a good college now worry about getting them through high school alive.

When I learned about the murder I, like many other parents in the community, was struck with dread: “This could happen to us.” Parents are still trying to come to terms with the fact that these were girls fighting, that girls and boys cheered on the fight and in a reversal of expectation, a white girl from a privileged home killed an unarmed daughter of immigrants. Why did no one try to stop the fight? When Deanna lay bleeding, why did no one call a parent for help or dial 911? As one mother said, “This was our September 11. The shock that our kids are not safe.”