California Man Convicted of Torturing Cannabis Retailer Owner

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NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. (AP) — A California man who previously escaped from jail and was on the run for a week was convicted Friday of kidnapping and torturing a marijuana dispensary owner who he mistakenly believed had buried significant sums of revenue in the desert.

A jury in Newport Beach identified Hossein Nayeri, 40, guilty of two counts of kidnapping and one particular count of torture in the 2012 abduction of the dispensary owner and his roommate’s girlfriend.

Authorities mentioned Nayeri and 3 other people plotted to kidnap and rob the man, who was bound and burned with a blow torch although his captors drove via the desert demanding the revenue. They reduce off his penis prior to leaving him and the lady on the side of a road.

As portion of their case, Orange County prosecutors alleged that Nayeri inflicted fantastic bodily injury on the victim, but jurors didn’t come across the enhancement to be correct. The jury also didn’t attain a verdict on a mayhem charge, as one particular juror had doubts about regardless of whether Nayeri was personally involved in the genital mutilation, jury foreperson Beth Burbage mentioned.

The jury deliberated intensely for 4 days, with members shouting, slamming factors and breaking into tears although suffering headaches, stomachaches and losing sleep.

Prosecutor Matt Murphy mentioned the kidnapping charges carry prospective sentences of life without the need of parole.

“It’s tricky to think about a case that is additional horrific than this one particular,” Murphy told reporters following the verdicts had been study. “Without a murder at the finish of it, this is about as terrible as it gets.”

Nayeri swayed his head gradually from side to side although the verdicts had been study. He is scheduled to be sentenced Oct. 11.

His lawyer, Salvatore Ciulla, declined to comment on the verdicts.

Though awaiting trial in 2016, Nayeri broke out of the Orange County jail with two other inmates in a bold escape. They led authorities on a weeklong manhunt across the state prior to becoming captured.

“Without a murder at the finish of it, this is about as terrible as it gets.”

Nayeri is charged with kidnapping a cab driver in connection with that case and has however to stand trial.

In Newport Beach, the jury deliberated intensely for 4 days, with members shouting, slamming factors and breaking into tears although suffering headaches, stomachaches and losing sleep, Burbage told reporters.

Jurors attempted once more early Friday to come across consensus on the outstanding difficulties but couldn’t, as one particular juror mentioned she nonetheless questioned Nayeri’s function in the mutilation, Burbage mentioned.

“We attempted almost everything — up and down and back and forth and sideways,” she mentioned. “I really feel like we did almost everything we possibly could.”

Nayeri testified through the trial that he had worked in the marijuana business enterprise but denied involvement in the kidnapping.

Authorities mentioned one particular of his mates, Kyle Handley, had been expanding marijuana for the dispensary owner and traveled with him on a trip to Las Vegas that led him to think the owner was wealthy and had stashed revenue in the desert.

Handley, Nayeri and two other mates then plotted the kidnapping and robbery, authorities mentioned.

Just after the abduction, Newport Beach police linked a vehicle that had been parked outdoors the victim’s property that evening to Handley, and DNA proof at Handley’s property to Nayeri, who by that time had fled to Iran, authorities mentioned.

Nayeri was extradited to the U.S. in 2014 from the Czech Republic, exactly where he had stopped to transfer flights to meet up with family members in Spain.

Handley was convicted in the case final year and sentenced to life without the need of parole.

Murphy mentioned the two other defendants had cooperated with authorities and had been not anticipated to stand trial.

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