The Coast News Group
CrimeOld - DO NOT USE - The Coast News

Elderly man admits to shooting roommates

ESCONDIDO — Retired musician Octavian Crishan who is accused of shooting his two roommates, killing one of them, took a plea bargain Jan. 14 that could keep him locked up for more than a decade. Crishan, 71, entered a no contest plea to a voluntary manslaughter charge and attempted voluntary manslaughter count in connection to gunning down longtime friend Herman Wiesemeyer and his other roommate, Matthew Vivian, on Feb. 18, 2007, in their Escondidio home on Parktree Lane. Wiesemeyer, 67, died from the attack, while Vivian, a registered nurse in his mid-40s at the time, sustained a gunshot wound to his face but survived. As Judge Joel Pressman went over the specifics of the plea with Crishan, the former concert violinist acknowledged he understood the details of the agreement. “I understand what I am doing now,” Crishan told the judge after outlining the litany of medications he is prescribed. Additionally, Crishan admitted to two firearm allegations. When he is sentenced March 10, he faces more than 15 years in prison.
Despite the potential prison time, the now-gray-haired musician who played the Las Vegas strip with the likes of Sammy Davis and Elvis Presley told Pressman he believed entering the plea would “facilitate the progress” of his case, which he said would ultimately be good for him. A Vista jury convicted Crishan last February of voluntary manslaughter relating to Wiesemeyer and the attempted murder of Vivian; however, Pressman overturned the conviction in August due to jury misconduct stemming from the panel’s deliberations. Crishan, who suffers from severe brain damage due to two strokes, maintained he gunned down the two men because he feared for his life from the mental and physical abuse the victims bestowed on him. Following his plea, Crishan’s attorney, John Cotsirilos, declined to comment on the plea citing the pending sentencing. Outside the courtroom, Deputy District Attorney Brendan McHugh said the defense brought the offer to his office. “It seemed an appropriate resolution to the case,” McHugh said.