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Victim talks of attacks in conspiracy trial

TAMPA — Soon after Grigori Komissarchuk began describing the attack that left him bloodied and unconscious two years ago in the parking lot of a Brooklyn, N.Y., Home Depot, his voice cracked and he cried on the witness stand.

His breathing became heavy as he discussed a second attack in December 2006 at his Sarasota home, when an assailant beat him and his wife with a hammer.

By the third attack in April 2007, which left his wife, Galina, with a fractured skull after someone again took a hammer to her head outside their Brooklyn home, Grigori Komissarchuk said he began to suspect his son-in-law may have been involved.

Alex Shevgert, 52, of Sarasota is on trial at the Tampa federal courthouse, charged with conspiracy to kill, injure or harass Grigori and Galina Komissarchuk. He's also charged with two counts of aiding and abetting co-conspirators to carry out the attacks.

Shevgert sank thousands of dollars of the Komissarchuks' money into ventures that failed.

The Komissarchuks own a fleet of taxi cabs in New York City worth millions of dollars.

Throughout the 1990s, the Komissarchuks gave Shevgert thousands of dollars to start businesses: $41,000 for a bread truck route; $55,000 for a Dairy Queen; and tens of thousands more for an International House of Pancakes, prosecutors said. Each time, the business failed, Assistant U.S. Attorney Anthony Porcelli said.

Defense attorney Stephen Stanley told jurors that Shevgert had nothing to do with the attacks.

Three co-conspirators already have pleaded guilty in the case and are awaiting sentencing, including Edmon Vardanyan, 24, of Tampa, the hired hit man who carried out the attacks.

Victim talks of attacks in conspiracy trial 11/04/08 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 4, 2008 9:43pm]
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