Walnut Creek man pleads no contest to last summer’s killing outside teen house party

Daniel Avanesyan, 19, of Walnut Creek, will be sentenced to seven years in prison in connection with the July 2 fatal stabbing of a Rodeo teen in the unincorporated Saranap neighborhood, the Contra Costa Times reported Saturday.

Tensions between young people from two parts of Contra Costa County ended in violence at a small house party, thrown by a girl whose parents were out of town. The fight broke out near the corner of Clover Lane and Nicholson Road, a normally quiet pocket of older homes off Boulevard Way.

Avanesyan, a Diablo Valley College student, was the boyfriend of the host. She had also invited her male cousin, who brought along several carloads of his buddies, including Jonart Suacillo Yambao, 17, from West Contra Costa County. Apparently Avanesyan’s group and Yambao’s group had some kind of run-in several weeks earlier. Once at the party, tensions rose, and the female host asked her cousin to leave and take his friends with him.

But a fight broke out, with one of the West County teens attacking Avanesyan in the girl’s back yard. He went into the house, got a knife, went outside to the front of the house and found Yambao and another guy jumping on his car and crushing the windshield.

What happened next is unclear, other than that Yambao was stabbed just after midnight, and wound up being driven by his friends to Kaiser medical center in Walnut Creek, where he died.

Avanesyan was originally charged with murder, but the plea deal came about because, the prosecutor told the Times, it would have been hard to prove that the defendant did not act not act under “heat of passion” or that he wasn’t defending himself against “provocative acts” committed by Yambao and his friends.

Defense attorney Annie Beles told the Times that Avanesyan acted “out of fear for his life and is taking responsibility.” She described him as a “good kid who got spun into an awful situation … because too may people came to that party looking for trouble.”

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