The judges, lawyers and staff that work in the Criminal Courts Building in Los Angeles joined together on July 19, 1995, to mourn the loss of a beloved colleague.
The deputy sheriff they called “G-12” or “Tony” made them laugh, teased them with gentle jokes, counseled them, did legal research and acted as a father figure.
Bailiff Antranik Geuvjehizian was eulogized as a man of exceptional kindness, unpretentious goodness and remarkable charisma. A public defender recalled the time a defendant flew into a rage during his trial and Geuvjehizian gave him a back rub until he calmed down.
The nickname G-12 stemmed from the difficulty people had pronouncing his last name. A fellow bailiff explained: “It started with G and had 12 letters in it.”
Deputy Geuvjehizian, a native of Beirut, Lebanon, was 31 years old when he died on the night of July 18, shot by a prowler near his Pasadena home. He was off duty and unarmed, helping his wife take out the trash, when he spotted a suspicious-looking man in front of his neighbor’s house. The man approached the couple and Geuvjehizian confronted him while his wife ran to call police.
When the prowler fled, Geuvjehizian chased him and was shot several times in the upper body, according to Lieutenant Gene Gray of the Pasadena Police Department.
Geuvjehizian worked as a court bailiff for Judge Carol Fieldhouse, as well as in other courtrooms in the building. He was on the team of bailiffs attached to the O.J. Simpson trial, sometimes accompanying the sequestered jurors on their outings.
People who knew the well-liked bailiff said he made everyone feel appreciated. Deputy District Attorney Marissa Zarate recalled his kindness toward a pregnant court reporter: “Every morning, he would go to the parking lot and get her steno machine and her files, bring them up to court, then get her breakfast.”
Deputy District Attorney Cynthia Rayvis said, “He had a warm, genuine side that touched all of us.
Geuvjehizian did not come across as a cop, recalled Deputy District Attorney Jennifer Lenz. “The last thing he was going to say was, ‘I’m the police.’ The message he projected was, ‘I’m a person, what can I do to help you?”‘
Fieldhouse remembered Geuvjehizian’s calming ability. “Some lawyer would be arguing, getting very emotional, and he would put his arm them quietly. Then he’d look at me and say, ‘OK, judge, we’re ready.”‘
Geuvjehizian was also a top-notch legal researcher, Fieldhouse recalled. “I’d have two lawyers arguing a legal point. Tony would go get Witkin’s and come up with the right page,” she said. “His research skills were staggering. He must have kept me from getting my ass reversed 100 times.”
“Everybody, even the jurors in the Simpson matter, were shaken,” Sheriff’s Commander Patrick Holland said. “All of them loved him. Everybody was really at a loss.”
Court commissioner Paul Enwright said the deputy will be sorely missed. “His training and his personality made him a great bailiff,” Enwright said.
In remarks at a vigil held in Geuvjehizian’s honor, Pasadena Mayor Bill Paparian noted that, “Antranik was named after a famous Armenian World War I hero. Even though the circumstances were so tragic, Antranik died as a hero.”
A member of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department since 1988, Geuvjehizian had lived in the Los Angeles area since he was seven years old. He was married to criminal defense attorney Vicki Sarmiento. He is also survived by his mother, a sister and two brothers.