Earlier this year, it took less than two hours for an Orange County jury to find Kyle Shirakawa Handley, 36, guilty in the 2012 kidnapping, torture and sexual mutilation of a local medical marijuana dispensary owner. On Friday, Orange County Superior Court Judge Gregg L. Prickett handed down the maximum penalty of four life sentences in state prison, two without the possibility of parole, against the Fountain Valley man.
Three co-defendants in the case, Hossein Nayeri, 39, Ryan Anthony Kevorkian, 37, and Naomi Josette Rhodus (formerly Naomi Kevorkian), 37, face the same charges and maximum sentence as Handley in trials to come.
According to prosecutors, Handley went on a pair of high-end Las Vegas trips with the victim in the spring of 2012. Afterward, Handley and Nayeri devised a plot to kidnap and rob the marijuana dispensary owner. It began with Handley casing out the victim’s Newport Beach home and trailing him on trips to the desert.
On Oct. 2, 2012, Handley and his accomplices made good on the plan by breaking into the victim’s home in the middle of the night. They kidnapped him and his roommate’s girlfriend, throwing both into the back of a van. Handley drove the pair out to the Mojave Desert where the kidnappers believed the victim stashed cash. Along the way, the dispensary owner was tortured with a blow torch, Taser and whip.
Once in the desert, the victim was brutally mutilated and dumped with bleach in an effort to cover up DNA evidence. The kidnappers left the pair bound, blindfolded with duct-tape and on the side of the road after coming up empty on any desert caches of cash.
The Newport Beach Police Department got a tip from a witness in the victim’s neighborhood who saw a suspicious car parked outside the home on the day of the kidnapping and jotted down the license plate. The vehicle in question was registered in Handley’s name. Police also found evidence linking Handley to the crime in his home.
At Friday’s sentencing, senior deputy district attorney Heather Brown read a statement on behalf of the victim.
“I live with the feeling of always looking over my shoulder. The scars on my body from the burning, tasering, and chemical burns are a reminder of the violent crime against me. I fear that I will never have the feeling or sense of being comfortable and carefree anywhere ever again.”
Nayeri’s jury trial is set to begin on Aug. 8. Kevorkian and Rhodus have pre-trial hearings scheduled in August and October, respectively.
Gabriel San Roman is from Anacrime. He’s a journalist, subversive historian and tallest Mexican in OC.