Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Edgemont Grabber Convicted By Deputy City Attorney Dikran Sassounian

September 29, 2009

On September 21, 2009, defendant Moises Nunogomez (above) was convicted after a four day Jury Trial in case number 9CA04601.

22 year-old Nunogomez (DOB 11/30/1986) was found guilty of committing four counts of Sexual Battery in violation of Penal Code Section 243.4(e)(1).

The prosecution was handled by Deputy City Attorney Dikran Sassounian of the Los Angeles City Attorney's Office Special Trials Unit and was tried in Department 55 of the Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center before Judge Terry Bork and a jury of eight women and four men.

Evidence presented during trial showed that, for a six month period between September 2008 and February 2009, the man who was only known as the "Edgemont Grabber," approached women from behind and grabbed their buttocks and genital area.

The crimes all occurred in the area of Edgemont and Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood. Four women who testified at the trial had reported the attacks to the police. The "Edgemont Grabber" was finally identified and arrested on February 13, 2009 by Detectives
Johneen Jones and Hovenessian and Officers Tojong and Lear of the Northeast Division of the Los Angeles Police Department.

The break in the case leading to the Defendant’s arrest came when officers Tojong and Lear responded to the last attack on February 13, 2009. The victim reported the crime from her child’s pre-school. While the officers were showing her a photograph of the suspect, the school handyman recognized him and told officers where he lived. The officers responded to the Defendant’s apartment, where he was taken into custody without incident.

The trial itself was not without problems; three of the victims were unable to identify the defendant, his attacks being sudden, from behind, and momentary. Additionally, although defendant had made admissions to the police regarding his identity, those admissions were not recorded and the defense claimed the admissions could not be trusted.

The defendant also called Antonio Manzo, his live-in boyfriend, as a witness to testify that Nunogomez was gay. The defense used that fact to argue that the defendant's grabbing of the victims' buttocks and genital area could not have been motivated by a "sexual motivation or purpose" (an element of the crime).

Thanks to DCA Sassounian's careful preparation and skillful presentation of evidence, video tape evidence proved the defendant to be the attacker on one occasion, and the defendant's Modus Operandi was sufficiently unique to convince the jury that he was the attacker on the other occasions, with the Jury returning "Guilty" verdicts on all four counts of Sexual Battery.

The still images from the surveillance camera (below) are chilling. They capture Nonogomez's last attack in broad daylight against an innocent and defenseless victim.. His actions, the expression on his face, and his aggressive behavior towards the victim leave no doubt in anyone's mind as to the intentions of the defendant.

After the verdict, DCA Sassounian thanked the Jury for their deliberations and especially thanked LAPD Detectives Jones and Hovhanessian for conducting a thorough and extensive investigation leading to the identification and arrest of the defendant. Sassounian noted that although only four women reported their attacks to the police, the number of victims is likely to be much higher.

Nunogomez remained in custody after the verdict, and he will be back in Department 55 on October 5, 2009 for sentencing. He faces a maximum sentence of Four Years in County Jail and Compulsory Lifetime Registration as a Sex Offender under Penal Code Section 290, popularly known as 'Megan's Law.'

Posted by: David Berger