VISTA — A jury found 21-year-old Kellon Razdan guilty of first-degree murder and use of a deadly weapon on Wednesday in the fatal stabbing of a San Marcos man after roughly two hours of deliberation, concluding a weeklong trial at the Vista courthouse.
Razdan was charged with the August 2021 killing of Aris Keshishian, 20, near the victim’s home in San Marcos. Evidence indicated that Razdan drove to Keshishian’s gated neighborhood, where he was walking his dog, and stabbed him 44 times in a driveway with a Toldadi folding knife.
Family and close friends of both Keshishian and Razdan were present for the reading of the verdict, which came just after 4:30 p.m. Razdan remained largely expressionless while his decision was read.
Sentencing has been scheduled for March 10 at 1:30 p.m. Deputy District Attorney Helen Kim, who prosecuted the case, declined to comment on the outcome until after sentencing.
During closing statements, Kim showed a photo of the sunset that Keshishian had taken on his phone just moments before Razdan arrived and attacked him back in August 2021.
“It was a pleasant evening,” Kim said. “He had just finished eating dinner with his dad, Henrik. It was a gorgeous sunset, so he took a photo with his iPhone. The very same moment, the defendant was outside the Stone Canyon community, plotting … to kill Aris. There was nothing Aris could have done.”
Kim also emphasized that, despite the arguments made by Razdan’s attorneys, this was not a self-defense case, as evidenced by the stab wounds on Keshishian’s back and shoulders, and that Razdan showed up unannounced with an “arsenal” of weapons in the trunk of his car.
Kim further addressed Razdan’s testimony that Keshishan had started a fight with him and that he allegedly feared for his life during the incident. The prosecutor noted how a witness described Razdan as calmly leaving the scene, how the defendant told deputies and doctors that the injuries on his hands were from a bicycle chain, and how he never mentioned this version of events until the trial.
Kerry Steigerwalt, Razdan’s defense attorney, urged the jury in his closing statement to consider a lower charge of manslaughter. He said Razdan’s wounds on his hands and small holes in his sweatshirt indicated that Keshishian had the knife at some point.
“You have to vote not guilty of first degree if you think there was self defense,” Steigerwalt said, adding that they needed to put aside any sympathy they might feel for the victim.
Razdan faces a possible sentence of 25 years to life.
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