The Orange County District Attorney's office has charged three men with the most heinous act in the annals of California's medical marijuana industry. It's a case that sounds less like actual news than a brutal story line from a television show such as Breaking Bad.
The crime allegedly took place in October 2012, when the victim, the owner of a “lucrative” medical marijuana dispensary in Orange County–authorities aren't releasing his name or that of his dispensary because of the nature of the crime–took several marijuana growers to “an extravagant and expensive weekend” in Las Vegas. One of those growers is Kyle Shirakawa Handley, who was arrested in October 2012 for what happened next. He is alleged to have told the three defendants arrested this week–Ryan Anthony Kervorkian, Naomi Josette Kervorkian, and Hossein Nayeri–that the owner was extremely rich. The defendants then surveilled the owner for several weeks, noting that he was taking numerous trips to the desert. They believed that, like Walter White, he'd buried a large amount of cash in the desert.
This set in motion a horrific series of events. Read on at your own peril.
On Oct. 2, 2012, Handley, Nayeri, and Kevorkian allegedly kidnapped the victim and his girlfriend, who happened to be with him at the time, zip-tied his wrists together, tortured him and “severely” beat him. They stole a “large amount” of cash from his home, and stuffed the couple in a van, which they proceeded to drive to the desert location where they believed he'd hidden more money.
Here's where things get downright medieval, the DA's office says.
The defendants “are accused of continuing to torture John Doe throughout the drive by burning him with a blow torch,” the agency's press release states. “Once in the desert, the defendants are accused of sexually mutilating the victim by cutting off his penis. They are accused of pouring bleach on the victim in an effort to destroy any DNA evidence and dumping both victims on the side of the road.”
Although they did not harm the girlfriend, “Handley, Nayeri, and Ryan Kevorkian are accused of fleeing the scene and taking the victim's penis with them so that it could never be reattached.” The woman “ran over a mile to a main road in the dark, while still bound with zip ties, and flagged down a police car.”
The victim spent an “extensive period of time in the hospital recovering from his injuries,” the DA says. Handley was arrested shortly after the crime occurred. Despite their apparent efforts to destroy DNA evidence, they didn't succeed, and after collecting samples from the crime scene, Newport Beach police were able to link the defendants to the crime. The Kervorkians were arrested last week in Fresno, and Nayeri, who spent several months in Iran, was arrested in Prague, Czech Republic, while flying to visit relatives in Spain.
The FBI also assisted in the investigation. Veteran OC homicide prosecutor Matt Murphy will be handling the trial. All four defendants face life in prison without the possibility of parole if convicted.
Send your story tips to the author, Nick Schou.