Teenager charged with three counts of murder after alleged street-racing crash in California

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Aug. 24 2021, Published 8:04 p.m. ET

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One of two teenagers involved in a deadly alleged street-racing crash that killed three people in another vehicle not involved now faces murder charges, prosecutors announced.

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Hamlet Arseni Aghajanyan, 19, is charged with three counts of murder and one count of reckless driving in connection to the wreck that killed 21-year-old Cerain Anthony Raekwon Baker of Pasadena, 20-year-old Jaiden Kishon Johnson of Burbank, and 19-year-old Natalee Asal Moghaddam of Calabasas, and left a fourth victim in the hospital in critical condition.

Aghajanyan has pleaded not guilty.

Prosecutors said possible charges may be pending against the second driver in the case, a 17-year-old whose name authorities have not released, KTLA reported.

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On Aug. 3, Aghajanyan was in a Kia allegedly racing the unnamed teenager driving a Mercedes Benz down a street in Burbank. One of their vehicles struck a Volkswagen attempting to make a left turn with the four occupants inside. The force of the impact split the vehicle in two and three of the four victims were ejected and killed in the fiery crash.


Aghajanyan, who was arrested on Aug. 19 and is currently being held on $6 million bail, was hospitalized after the deadly crash, while the second driver was uninjured.

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"He feels very bad for what's happened,” said Aghajanyan's attorney, George Mgdesyan of the firm LA Lawyers, according to KABC-TV.

Mgdesyan added his client is recovering from multiple surgeries he underwent to treat injuries sustained in the crash. “My understanding is he needed to have another procedure, but now he's inside, so we're going to have to try to coordinate that while he's in custody.”

“This tragic and avoidable event was caused by subjects racing vehicles and driving recklessly at very high rates of speed,” law enforcement officials said. “The Burbank Police Department reminds all community members that such reckless acts will not be tolerated.”

Aghajanyan is due back in court on Oct. 6.


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