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Probation in Desert Killing Case

March 4, 2002

CARLSBAD, N.M. (AP) _ A man who said he stabbed his best friend to death to put him out of his misery after they became lost in the desert and ran out of water has been released after serving 19 months of a two-year term.

Raffi Kodikian of Boston pleaded no contest to second-degree murder in May 2000 in the death of David Coughlin, who was stabbed in the chest in the backcountry of Carlsbad Caverns National Park.

Park workers rescued Kodikian about six hours after his friend died on Aug. 8, 1999.

Kodikian said he and Coughlin, 26, of Millis, Mass., had entered into a suicide pact and that his friend pleaded with him to end his pain.

Prosecutors said at the time Kodikian entered his plea that he had marks across his wrist but they weren’t deep. Kodikian’s attorney argued both men tried to slash their wrists and were in ``absolute desperate straits.″

Kodikian, who was released in November, will remain on supervised probation until Nov. 19, 2006, in Pennsylvania, where he now has a residence and family, the Carlsbad district attorney’s office said Monday. Craig Vandenberg, a spokesman for the prosecutor, said he didn’t know where Kodikian would be in Pennsylvania.

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