ALHAMBRA, Calif. – A California man who authorities say killed his son after a family trip to Disneyland pleaded not guilty to a murder charge Monday, days after his son's body was found near a Southern California lake.
Aramazd Andressian Sr., hands shackled at his waist, appeared before Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Cathryn Brougham, who set bail at $10 million and scheduled a preliminary hearing for Aug. 16.
Authorities have said Andressian killed his son, Aramazd Andressian Jr., to get back at his estranged wife. But they haven't disclosed how the boy was killed, what evidence there is linking the father to the boy's death or what led them to find the young boy's body more than two months after his disappearance.
Homicide detectives discovered the remains of the boy near Lake Cachuma in Santa Barbara County on June 30. Before finding the remains, authorities had twice previously searched the lake unsuccessfully, using dogs and a dive team.
Los Angeles County sheriff's investigators have said they think the boy was killed early April 21 after a trip to Disneyland. Andressian told authorities that he drove that day about 145 miles (233 kilometers) to Lake Cachuma.
Andressian was brought back to Los Angeles last week from Las Vegas, where he had been living for more than a month.
Defense attorney Ambrosio Rodriguez said outside court his client was "in a state of shock" and that a blue smock his client wore during the arraignment was a suicide-prevention garment. Andressian was also being evaluated by a jail psychiatrist, he said.
"Obviously my client is dealing with this and being accused of murdering his son and his son's body found," Rodriguez said. "This is a horrible day. In a long line of horrible days."
Rodriguez declined to comment when asked what his client says happened to his son and would not answer other questions about the case.
The boy's mother and dozens of other family members attending the arraignment Monday.
"We are all grieving right now," Shaun Estevez, the boy's uncle, said after the arraignment. "We're really hurting."
He said his sister, the boy's mother, is still trying to come to grips with her son's death.
"We're here for justice for Piqui," he said, using the boy's nickname. "He was a great kid."
Estevez said "no words could describe" seeing the father in court.
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