Man jailed on stalker charge

By KEVIN GRAHAM, Times Staff Writer
Published January 9, 2008

TAMPA - A Russian immigrant with local ties stalked and harassed an elderly couple and beat them with a hammer in exchange for money, according to a federal complaint.

On Tuesday, the U.S. Marshals Service arrested Edmon Vardanyan, 23, of 4202 Bismarck Palm Drive, Tampa, on a charge of interstate stalking with the intent to kill, injure, harass or intimidate. U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark Pizzo ordered that he remain in custody.

Grigori and Galina Komissarachuk picked Vardanyan's mug out of a lineup after reporting attacks that happened between September 2006 and April 2007, an FBI report says.

Eric Kuske, Vardanyan's attorney, denied the allegations and said Vardanyan has never met the Komissarachuks and wasn't hired to harm them or kill them for $10,000 each, as the FBI report alleged.

The Sarasota County Sheriff's Office investigated one of the early complaints from the Komissarachuks. Sheriff's Lt. Chuck Lesaltato said the person who allegedly initiated the hit on the couple was their son-in-law, a man he said was referred to as "the Boss."

Lesaltato said the son-in-law allegedly contacted a middle man who ordered Vardanyan to harass the Komissarachuks. The dispute may have been over money, he said.