A 46-year-old man was convicted of murder Friday for the 2016 beating and strangling of his ex-girlfriend in her Huntington Beach home.
Jason Joseph Becher of Anaheim was convicted by a jury of one felony count of first-degree murder with a special circumstances of lying in wait in the death of 50-year-old Marylou Sarkissian, the Orange County District Attorney’s Office said in a news release.
Sarkissian, a mother of three, had a restraining order against him at the time.
Becher’s defense attorney acknowledged that his client killed Sarkissian but he argued the killing wasn’t planned and resulted from rage, and so he should be convicted of a lesser charge of second-degree murder or voluntary manslaughter, the Associated Press reported. Becher had pleaded not guilty in the case in 2018.
Late in the night of Dec. 1, 2016, Becher went to Sarkissian’s home after he had gone out for drinks with an acquaintance. He beat and strangled her to death before leaving the home early the next morning, officials said.
That afternoon, on Dec. 2, someone contacted the Huntington Beach Police Department to request a welfare check on Sarkissian. The Los Angeles Time reported that Becher’s uncle had informed authorities his nephew told him he killed Sarkissian.
Police were let into the residence by her teenage son, who told officers he got home around noon and called for his mom but didn’t think she was there, according to a Huntington Beach police report obtained by the L.A. Times. He led them to his mother’s room and screamed when he saw her lying on the floor of the shower.
Sarkissian’s body was badly bruised and her face beaten, as she was lying in a pool of blood, according to the police report.
Becher was arrested the next day in Grants Pass, Oregon.
Sarkissian had obtained a restraining order against Becher and installed a security system at her home a day before she died, according to documents filed in O.C. Superior Court.
A man, who authorities identified as Becher, was caught on security footage wearing gloves and carrying a garbage bag, with blood smeared on his forehead. He was apparently heard in the video saying, “So you got a new surveillance system; how’d that work out for you?” the police report states.
Becher is scheduled to be sentenced on June 11, and faces a maximum sentence of life without the possibility of parole.
“The facts in this case were so clear it took a jury less than a day to return a guilty verdict and hold a cold-blooded, calculating murderer accountable,” O.C. District Attorney Todd Spitzer said in a written statement. “The pain of losing Marylou will never go away, but her loved ones now know that justice was served.”