NEWPORT BEACH, CALIFORNIA: Fact is stranger than fiction. Recently, a 41-year-old pot grower in California, who had tried to escape jail after he was accused of kidnapping and mutilating a medical marijuana dealer in 2012, was sentenced to life imprisonment without parole.
Hossein Nayeri from Newport Beach received two consecutive life sentences as well as a third sentence of between seven years and life imprisonment on Friday for his rather grisly crime. In 2014, Nayeri was arrested after his then-wife, Cortney Shegerian, who was in cahoots with the police, convinced him to travel from Iran to the Czech Republic where he was caught and extradited back to the United States. Last year, Nayeri was found guilty of the 2012 abduction, which he carried out with the assistance of two high school friends in a plot to locate $1 million they were sure that dispensary owner had buried in the Mojave desert.
However, no money was ever found. The three of them broke into a Newport Beach home, tied up the dispensary owner, along with the girlfriend of the man who owned the house, and then forced them into a van. During this traumatic drive, the men tortured the dispensary owner with rubber piping, a stun gun and a blow torch, insisting he give them the $1 million, even though he kept saying that he didn’t have the money. After arriving in the desert, they cut off the dispensary owner’s penis. They left him and the woman, Mary Barnes, still bound and gagged, behind and drove off.
Barnes and the dispensary owner managed to survive, though authorities were unable to recover his missing genitals. Finally, the authorities identified Nayeri, Kyle Handley, and Ryan Kevorkian as the main suspects. Handley, who was the first to be put on trial, had been convicted in 2018. He was sentenced to four life terms in prison. Kevorkian and his estranged wife, Naomi Rhodus, are still awaiting trial. Rhodus was accused of purchasing the weapons used in the kidnapping and helping to rent the van.
Prosecutors maintained that Kevoriak and Rhodus ‘were co-operative’ and were willing to testify against Nayeri if needed. In all probability, they might reach plea deals.
Matt Murphy, an Orange County prosecutor, said on Friday that Nayeri had recruited this motley crew to commit this horrible crime. “Nayeri is a psychopath,’ Murphy said after the sentencing. “He is a truly diabolical criminal.”
Nayeri had escaped to Iran, but was finally caught. Nayeri’s now ex-wife, Cortney Shegerian persuaded Nayeri to fly to the Czech Republic, where they met. He was unaware that she was secretly working with the authorities. Police had ascertained that they could have Nayeri extradited back to the United States if he agreed to fly to the Czech Republic to meet Shegerian.
Nayeri tried another escape tactic. While awaiting trial, Nayeri teamed up with two other inmates to escape from Orange County Jail. He was caught in a little over a week.
Shegerian revealed to ABC’s 20/20 that her husband had become ‘obsessed’ with planning the October 2012 kidnapping of the victim. Apparently, he had tried to compel her into joining him. Shegerian said that she had got a chance to make things right for herself and get justice for the dispensary owner.
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