Documents obtained by The Palm Beach Post show a family connection between a Delray Beach man who was slain in his driveway Feb. 6 and a teen accused in his killing.
Harut Saroyan, who described himself to police as a lookout and gateaway driver, is the stepgrandson of the victim, Lucanes Joseph, documents show.
Joseph, 65, was fatally shot on Southwest Sixth Avenue in Delray Beach’s Rosemont Park section in what police described as an attempted robbery. Joseph was preparing to leave for work that morning, police said. Hours after the slaying, Saroyan, 18, of Boynton Beach, was in custody and explaining his alleged role to police.
In July 2006, Joseph’s son, Anes, 37, married a woman who is the mother of Harut and his older brother Hovannes, according to a marriage certificate obtained by The Post.
Joseph’s daughter, Marie Joseph, said Harut was treated like family and she could not understand how he could have been involved in her father’s death.
“I treated him the same as my nephew,” Marie said. “I don’t know why he would choose to do this. That’s why we’re in shock. If it’s really him, I don’t know why he would do this. The only reason I can think of is he knows my dad would carry money.”
Delray Beach Police spokesman Jeffrey Messer said he could not comment on any connection between Harut Saroyan and Lucanes Joseph because the investigation has not been finished. He also would not say whether investigators believe Joseph was intentionally targeted.
Marie Joseph remembered her father, who came to the U.S. from Haiti in 1997, for his devotion to his family and compassion for others.
“He loved his children,” she said. “He respected everybody.”
Marie’s brother, Anes, was sentenced in 2012 to five years and three months for smuggling guns to Haiti.
In a letter written to a judge before his stepfather’s sentencing, Hovannes Saroyan, now 20, wrote about growing up without his father. Saroyan asked that leniency be shown to Anes Joseph. The Saroyans’ biological father, Armen Saroyan, previously was incarcerated in Colorado for sexual assault.
“I am asking you to go easy on him,” Hovannes wrote in an April 2012 letter to U.S. District Judge Kenneth L. Ryskamp. “The only reason I ask that is because I lost my father to jail and I know what it’s like to live without a father.”
This month, the Saroyan brothers faced their own legal troubles. Both were incarcerated at the Palm Beach County Jail on unrelated charges — the younger sibling Harut accused of being involved in the killing of their stepgrandfather and Hovannes was jailed for a probation violation.
Harut Saroyan allegedly told police investigators he was paid $20 to act as a lookout and the getaway driver while another man committed the robbery. He is facing a charge of first-degree murder.
The other suspect involved in the fatal shooting, identified as James J. Jones, 29, remained at large as of Saturday.
Phone calls to other members of the Joseph family were not returned. A relative at Joseph’s home confirmed that Anes is Lucanes’ son, but she declined to comment further. At a Boynton Beach residence listed as the mother of Harut and Hovannes’ address, a woman said from behind a closed door that she had no comment.
Records show the Saroyan brothers and other family have had a history of legal trouble.
In January 2014, Hovannes pleaded guilty to being involved in a December 2012 armed home invasion in suburban Boynton Beach, court records show. He was credited with 404 days jail time and placed on two years of probation. Last month, he violated the terms of his probation by testing positive for cocaine, according to an affidavit from the state Department of Corrections.
Harut, who turned 18 in May, was arrested multiple times as a juvenile, including a 2013 charge of aggravated assault with a weapon and child cruelty, records show.
The brothers’ stepfather and father are both serving prison time, records show. Anes Joseph was sentenced to federal prison in 2012. In 2001, Armen Saroyan, was convicted in Colorado on charges of sexual assault, kidnapping, first-degree burglary and violating a restraining order.
Staff writer Matt Morgan and staff researcher Melanie Mena contributed to this report.
FAMILY TIES TO A TRAGEDY
Lucanes Joseph, 65, was shot and killed Feb. 6 in the driveway of his Feb. 6 home. His step-grandson was charged in his murder. Others connected to his family have faced criminal charges:
Anes Joseph, 37, son: Convicted in 2012 of smuggling guns into Haiti.
Hovannes Saroyan, 20, step-grandson: Charged with probation violation from a 2012 home invasion robbery.
Harut Saroyan, 18, step-grandson: Charged in Lucanes Joseph’s murder. Allegedly told police that he acted as lookout and getaway driver.
Armen Saroyan, 47, father of Hovannes and Harut: Convicted in 2001 in Colorado for sexual assault and kidnapping.