LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — A man who was part of a group which violently assaulted a transgender woman five years ago in Hollywood, in what authorities called a hate crime, will not serve any prison time.
Nicol Shakhnazaryan, 26, had previously plead no contest to felony assault in the May 2013 beating of a then 22-year-old Vivien Diego. As a result of his plea deal, his felony conviction was later reduced to a misdemeanor.
He was sentenced in Los Angeles County Superior Court in downtown L.A. Friday to 30 days of community service, already served, and 2 ½ years of probation.
“It’s crazy, I can’t believe it, I wake up in the morning, and I just rethink that night, and I think, ‘wow, I’m still here,'” Diego told reporters outside courtroom.
In the early morning hours of May 31, 2013, a group of men attacked Diego in the 6200 block of Hollywood Boulevard.
Security video showed the group of young men knocking down Diego, who was wearing a sheer dress, and then delivering several kicks to her head and body.
Diego suffered a broken jaw, a shattered cheekbone, two cracked ribs and a loss of hearing. She was hospitalized for seven days.
“Emotionally and mentally, that healing process is going to be ongoing,” Diego said. “Physically I think I’m OK.”
Shakhnazaryan was arrested in June 2013. A second suspect, Samuel Garunts, 26, was arrested in October 2013 and pleaded no contest in February 2017 to a misdemeanor assault count and was sentenced to three years probation.
The judge noted the defendants’ pleas came after a mistrial that was declared in their first trial following the discovery of a Los Angeles Police Department report that alleged Diego was the “aggressor” in the confrontation. The judge said surveillance video shown in court during the sentencing hearing wasn’t the only video pertinent to the case, saying there was also video that shows the woman turning around and making some sort of stabbing or slashing motion and a man dropping almost to his knees before the group of men with him begins chasing her.
Those claims, Diego’s attorney Gloria Allred said Friday, are unfounded.
“I think it’s just nonsense,” Allred said. “How convenient not to have any video there that would support that argument. But even more to the point, had she been guilty of a crime, they would have charged her.”
At the end of the sentencing hearing, Judge Charlaine F. Olmedo told Diego she was “sorry for your injuries” and that she hoped the victim could move past what had happened.
The judge then addressed Shakhnazaryan, telling him she hopes he will make wiser choices in the future and realize that “all people do deserve respect.” He had no prior criminal record, she noted during the hearing.
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)