18-year-old gets five life
sentences in 'Labor Day Massacre' in
September 28, 1999
LITTLETON - Convicted murderer Alexander Pogosyan was
sentenced Monday to five consecutive life terms in prison without parole
for his role in the so-called Labor Day Massacre.
Arapahoe County District Judge James Macrum Jr.
handed down the sentence after hearing testimony from members of the
five victims' families and pleas from Pogosyan's mother to spare her 18-year-old
A district court jury convicted Pogosyan of five
counts of felony murder on June 18. He was also convicted on five counts
of second- degree murder, two counts of first-degree burglary and one
count of being an accessory to crime in a 1998 rampage that left five
people in two different houses dead.
"It was very emotional. There were sobs," said
Michael Knight, spokesman for the Arapahoe County District Attorney's
"They (the victims' families) felt that the court
could never get their loved ones back and that Mr. Pogosyan had shown no
remorse," Knight said.
But Knight said Pogosyan's mother said she believed
her son did not commit the murders.
"She said she won't rest until justice is served," he
Pogosyan showed little emotion during the two-hour
hearing and did not address the court, Knight said.
Under Colorado law, each of the felony murder
convictions carries a mandatory sentence of life in prison without
The judge also sentenced Pogosyan to six years in
prison for being an accessory to a crime. Knight said it was an "insurance
policy" in case the murder convictions were ever overturned on appeal.
Investigators believe Pogosyan and his friend Michael
Martinez armed themselves with shotguns, put bandanas over their faces
and went on a murderous rampage at two Aurora homes Sept. 7, 1998.
Martinez, 18, was found shot to death at an office
park near the Park Meadows mall several hours after the other shootings.
No one has been charged in his death, although Pogosyan was initially
said to be a suspect.
Also killed were Eddie Morales Jr., and Zach Obert,
both 18, in a house in Aurora. Marissa Avalos, 16, Penny Bowman, 37, and
her son, Greg Medla, 18, were found shot to death in a second home
Defense attorneys argued during the trial that
Pogosyan was a victim of sloppy police work. They said investigators
failed to follow up on other potential suspects.
But prosecutors claimed the defendant and Martinez
went on a rampage out of revenge. Witnesses said Martinez was bent on
getting back at those he felt were "snitching" on him.
Several witnesses testified that Pogosyan boasted he
and Martinez had "blasted" five people. His girlfriend, Noelle Peterson,
16, testified that he told her he shot three of the victims.
Artur Martirosyan, 18, is suspected of driving
Pogosyan and Martinez to one of the homes. He remains a fugitive.
During the sentencing hearing, defense attorneys
argued motions for a new trial but were denied, Knight said.
They also pleaded with the judge to take into account
that Pogosyan was a juvenile, just 17, at the time of the murders. But
Knight said Pogosyan was treated as an adult throughout the proceedings
and the judge stayed that course.
Teen-Ager Is Convicted In 5 Deaths
The New York Times
Monday, June 21, 1999
A teen-age boy who fatally shot five people in
two homes in suburban Denver last September has been convicted of
five counts of first-degree murder.
The teen-ager, Alexander Pogosyan, 18, who was
convicted on Friday, could be sentenced to life in prison.
''At least he will be punished for what he did,''
said Maria Isabel Avalos, the mother of Marissa Avalos, 16, one of the
victims. ''He showed no emotion for the families and no remorse for what
The police said Mr. Pogosyan and a friend, Michael
Martinez, armed themselves with shotguns, put bandanas over their faces
and went on a murderous rampage at two Aurora homes on Sept. 7.
Mr. Martinez, 18, was found shot to death at an
office park several hours later. No one has been charged in his death.
Prosecutors said Mr. Martinez had wanted to take
revenge on people who he believed had been ''snitching'' on him.
and Michael Martinez
Authorities believe Alexander Pogosyan
and Michael Martinez are responsible for a shooting rampage that left six people
dead in Aurora over Labor Day, 1998.
Pogosyan is accused of killing five
of the six people who died in the September 7 shootings. Authorities say
the sixth victim, Michael Martinez, helped Pogosyan carry out the crime.
Martinez later was found shot to death in a field, but no one has been
charged in his death.
Authorities believe Pogosyan and Martinez went on a
shooting spree that day and gunned down Ed Morales Jr. and Zack Obert,
both 18, at the Morales home. Then they went to another home and killed
Greg Medla, 18, Penny Bowman Medla, 37, and Marissa Avalos, 16. Martinez
was killed later the same day. His body was found in a field with 13
Their alleged getaway driver Artur Martirosyan, who
fled Colorado after the Labor Day murders and is still at-large, told
police that after the killings Martinez announced he wanted to find his
girlfriend and kill her, too. "They all snitched on me, and I'm
going to get them," Martinez told Martirosyan. About 9:30 p.m. that
night, Martirosyan said Alex Pogosyan called him, sounding dejected.
"They got Mike. I'm just sitting here at home waiting for Mike,''
Pogosyan told him. Who "they" are is still uncertain.
Michael Martinez's father, Miguel Martinez, testified
that he drove his son to Denver Health Medical Center early Sept. 7 to
be checked for a sexually transmitted disease. He left the teen with $20
to take a cab home, but Pogosyan picked him up. When they returned to
his house, Martinez said he found his son in the kitchen taking knives
but disarmed him. "He told me everyone was going to die,'' the
elder Martinez said. "I told him nobody was going to die. Then he
left and slammed the door on me."
Esther Martinez said she and her husband had returned
home that weekend to find their son had broken a rule prohibiting him
from having friends over when no adults were present. Martinez broke
into tears as she described finding Pogosyan's clothing on her son's bed,
along with a duffel bag that contained shotgun shells. She also found
surgical gloves among the clothing.
When the teens returned moments later, Esther Martinez
said she demanded that Pogosyan leave, but he refused. "He say I
just came here to protect Michael. They are going to come to kill
Michael, blast out your windows and kill you and your husband." She
testified that Pogosyan gave her a telephone number of the alleged enemy.
When she called the number, a teenage girl answered, and Martinez said
she told her to "leave the boys alone and don't call my house
May 26, 1999
According to his girlfriend,
Nicolle Peterson, 16, Alexander Pogosyan admitted taking part in a
shooting rampage that left six people dead in Aurora over Labor Day,
1998. Peterson testified in court that Pogosyan told her he'd killed at
least three of the victims. "Alex said he was either going to kill
himself or spend the rest of his life in jail... He was ... on the verge
Pogosyan is accused of
killing five of the six people who died in the September 7 shootings.
Authorities say the sixth victim, Michael Martinez, helped Pogosyan
carry out the crime. Martinez later was found shot to death in a field,
but no one has been charged in his death.