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Guilty as charged!

Updated: Mar 19, 2022

Two Armenian Americans were sentenced for hate crimes for attacking Turks in California.

William Stepanyan, 23, of Glendale, was sentenced to five years in prison and Harutyun Harry Chalikyan, 24, of Tujung, was sentenced to 15 months in prison, the United States Department of Justice said in a press release on Tuesday.

Each defendant was also sentenced to three years of supervised release. The court also ordered the defendants to jointly pay $21,200 in restitution for damage to the Turkish restaurant. Each defendant previously pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy and one count of committing a hate crime.

Earlier on 4 November 2020, Stepanyan sent a text message saying that he planned to go “hunting for [T]urks.” The defendants drove to the restaurant with a group of approximately nine individuals who planned to demonstrate outside the establishment because they considered it symbolic of Turkey. Upon arriving at the restaurant, Stepanyan and Chalikyan stormed inside, threw hard wooden chairs at the victims, smashed glassware, destroyed a plexiglass barrier and overturned tables. One of the defendants asked the victims, “Are you Turkish?” and shouted, “We came to kill you! We will kill you!”

Auburn Gallipoli Mosque in Sydney was also attacked a week earlier.

After being charged with malicious damage the courts released the perpetrator under section 33 as an involuntary patient under the care of NSW Health.

Australian-Turkish community has no information about how his mental health treatments are going. That suspect has been released back in to the community.


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