Crime - Sacto 911

Ask Sacto 911 crime Q&A: What happened to defendants accused of killing man outside Watt Avenue video store?

Q: I was on the jury of a murder trial a few years ago. A Ukrainian pastor was killed outside the Blockbuster on Watt Avenue. I was on the jury for a youth called “Battle.” I never found out what the sentence was and where he is now.

Mark, Sacramento

A: Arthur James Battle was one of four young men sentenced to life in prison for their roles in the fatal shooting of 45-year-old Norik Abramyan in the parking lot of Hollywood Video on Watt Avenue on July 30, 2006.

According to stories in The Sacramento Bee, the victim’s son, Vardan Abramyan, masterminded the murder. He argued in court that he was trying to protect his sisters and mother when he arranged and paid for his father’s killing. He portrayed his father as physically, financially and psychologically abusive to the family.

Vardan Abramyan, who was 19 at the time, paid $4,000 to Isaiah Dupree Barron to arrange the murder, and Barron in turn paid $500 each to Battle and Jason Dillingham to carry out the murder.

The younger Abramyan took his father to the video store under the guise of renting a movie. While in the restroom, he called the men he had hired and told them where his father was. He testified that he could not bear to watch the shooting and came outside after the deed was done.

According to testimony during the trial, Battle and Dillingham shot Norik Abramayan, and Barron acted as a middleman in arranging the murder.

Battle, 28, is incarcerated at the California Substance Abuse Treatment Facility and State Prison in Corcoran. Dillingham, 28, is at California State Prison, Solano, in Vacaville, and Barron, 29 is at a California State Prison facility in Calipatria.

Vardan Abramyan, 28, is at California State Prison, Sacramento, in Folsom.

Cathy Locke: 916-321-5287, @lockecathy