Sanger man found guilty in Bee carrier trial
A jury on Monday convicted a Sanger man of kidnapping and assault in the predawn shooting of a Fresno Bee carrier eight years ago on Shaw Avenue near DeWolf Avenue east of Clovis.
It was the second time in five years that Tannen Soojian, now 36, was convicted by a Fresno County Superior Court jury for the kidnapping and assault of Joyce Ahumada while she was on a delivery route with her son.
In 2009, however, the 5th District Court of Appeal in Fresno said Fresno County Superior Court Judge James Quaschnick didn’t properly review new evidence that showed another man could have attacked the carrier.
That resulted in the new trial — and the new guilty verdicts. But jurors in this second trial were unable to reach a verdict on an attempted murder charge, and they found Soojian not guilty for assaulting Ahumada’s teenage son, Morgan.
It doesn’t matter, prosecutor Lynmarc Jenkins said.
Soojian was given what essentially was a life term in prison after the first guilty verdicts, and Jenkins said a similar fate awaits Soojian this time, even without the attempted murder conviction.
There are no plans to seek a new trial on the attempted murder charge, Jenkins said.
“This was a very bad man who preyed on defenseless women, and his family has done everything they could to try and get him off of these charges,” he said after the verdict.
“The jury saw through the lies and saw through the planted evidence, and they found him guilty. He will be sentenced to prison, which is exactly where he belongs.”
San Francisco attorneys August Gugelmann and Edward Swanson, who represented Soojian, could not be reached to comment on the verdict.
The jury was in its fourth day of deliberation when it reached its verdict. Judge Jane Cardoza set sentencing for Aug. 20.
Jenkins said Soojian shot Ahumada, now 54, in front of Morgan, now 24, while they were delivering The Bee on April 18, 2004.
A severely wounded Ahumada picked Soojian out of a sheriff’s photo lineup and her blood was found on Soojian’s clothing and inside his truck, Jenkins said in his closing argument.
“The evidence in this case points to one person and only one person — and that is Tannen Soojian,” Jenkins told jurors.
The new evidence that resulted in the second trial centered on Soojian’s cousin, Aaron Bolin, court records show.
In an interview in November 2010, Los Angeles attorney Mark Geragos, who represented Soojian in his first trial, said Bolin was mentioned as a possible suspect in the first trial. Bolin was never charged.
After Soojian was convicted, Geragos said his private investigator found Bolin’s old truck. Inside the truck was Ahumada’s expired driver’s license, as well as “snake shot,” or pellets similar to what was fired at Ahumada, Geragos said.
Jenkins, however, said the Soojian family forged documents in an attempt to show that Soojian was not at the scene. Jenkins had earlier said that Soojian got mad and went looking for a woman after his wife left him.
“We have a lot of physical evidence,” Jenkins told jurors. “A lot.”
By John Ellis