Jason Becher, who strangled and beat his ex-girlfriend to death, will spend the rest of his life behind bars, a judge ruled this month.
The first-degree murder took place just hours after Marylou Sarkissian installed security cameras for protection against her former boyfriend at her Huntington Beach, California, home.
On Dec. 1, 2016, Sarkissian contracted a technician to install motion-triggered cameras at a home in the 9000 block of Litchfield Drive. The decision to fortify the beach home stemmed from abuses she had suffered after Becher previously beat and choked her. A couple of months before the murder, Sarkissian got a restraining order against him, which he violated just a few days after.
She received threats from Becher based on allegations she stole money from him. Becher was a marijuana grower and dealer and had entrusted Sarkissian with the revenue generated from the operation.
Over time the relationship between the couple strained, with Becher alleging Sarkissian had been unfaithful and had laundered his money.
While the cameras were being installed, Becher reportedly told an uncle it would be a bad day in Huntington Beach.
During the trial, Deputy District Attorney Janine Madera told the jury Becher attempted to break into the home using a crowbar but was unsuccessful. On Dec. 12, 2016, he decided to lay in wait and ambush Sarkissian in her backyard when she opened the door to let her dog out.
After the murder, one of the cameras spotted Becher going through the security installation boxes left in her kitchen. He could be seen making fun of Sarkissian’s unsuccessful effort to protect herself with the cameras she had just installed.
Becher’s attorney, Deputy Public Defender Irene Pai never disputed the defendant’s guilt but claimed he should have been charged appropriately for second-degree murder or manslaughter. Pai alleged her client had not planned on killing Sarkissian when he waited for her in her backyard but only wanted to talk to her and get his money back.
Becher was convicted of first-degree murder with a special circumstance of lying in wait.
“Mr. Becher, it is still not lost on the court that as you sit here before the court it’s as if nothing here fazes you. You have not shown one bit of remorse. In fact, you look as you sit here as though you are laughing and don’t even understand the seriousness of this offense. I think that it’s why this crime carries with it the sentence that is so appropriate to impose upon you,” said Orange County Superior Court Judge Sheila HansonMercury News.
Despite the court victory, the victim’s family still believed the justice system failed them while Sarkissian was alive. They resented why Becher spent a short time in prison for previous domestic abuses against two other women in the past, a pattern to show what he would do in the future.