A man was recently sentenced to life in prison after a plot to rob a cannabis dispensary owner turned into a case of kidnapping and torture.
In May 2012, cannabis grower Kyle Shirakawa Handley took a trip to Las Vegas with two longtime friends - Hossein Nayeri and Ryan Kevorkian. On the trip, Handley told his friends about the dispensaries he supplies, including one owner that was supposedly hiding large amounts of cash somewhere out in the desert. That conversation turned into planning a robbery.
The dispensary owner - whose name has not been released - has testified that on October 2, 2012, three masked men kidnapped him and his female roommate by zip-tying their hands and feet and throwing them into a van before driving to the Mojave Desert. On the way, the owner was stomped, beaten, Tased and burned. The captors repeatedly demanded $1 million from the owner, whose penis was cut off when they arrived in the desert.
Before leaving, one of the captors threw a knife into the bushes and told the dispensary owner's roommate that she could free herself if she found it. She managed to do just that, and then flagged down a sheriff’s deputy to come help her friend.
"It still haunts me," she testified as reported by the LA Times.
"What they did…defies the English language," Deputy District Attorney Matthew Murphy told jurors during the closing arguments of Handley's trial. "The cruelty and viciousness…[all] so they could get money."
Handley has now been sentenced to life in prison by Orange County Superior Court Judge Gregg Prickett. A jury in January found Handley guilty of 3 felony charges: kidnapping, aggravated mayhem and torture. The other two defendants - Nayeri and Kevorkian - now face the same charges.