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Police say 21-year-old Ruslan Bazelyan befriended a 71-year-old Antioch man, stayed at his home for over a week, then killed him and took his car, possibly fleeing to San Francisco or Sacramento. (Antioch Police Department)

MARTINEZ -- A Ukrainian immigrant was sentenced Tuesday to seven years in prison for the 2013 beating death of an elderly Antioch man who had taken him in as a houseguest.

Ruslan Bazelyan, 22, was charged with murder for bludgeoning Ronald Henry Rush, 71, with a heavy crystal vase in Rush's Horseshoe Circle home on June 11, 2013. Police said Bazelyan, who came to the United States in 2003, fled in Rush's gold BMW convertible. He was arrested by police and U.S. marshals in Vancouver, Wash., 24 days after the attack.

As part of an agreement with prosecutors, Bazelyan pleaded no contest to voluntary manslaughter, carrying a six-year prison term; elder abuse, carrying a one-year sentence; and a great bodily injury enhancement. Per the plea deal, punishment for the enhancement was stricken by Judge Terri Mockler.

Robbery and murder charges were dismissed by prosecutors.

Bazelyan will have to serve 85 percent of his sentence before becoming eligible for parole. With time served, he could be out of prison in slightly more than five years.

Contact Gary Peterson at 925-952-5053. Follow him at Twitter.com/garyscribe.



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