SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) — A couple charged in the brutal torture of a medical marijuana dispensary owner who was dumped in the desert and left for dead are scheduled to make their first appearance in an Orange County courtroom on Tuesday.
Ryan Kevorkian, 34, and his 33-year-old wife, Naomi Kevorkian, were arrested late last week and charged with kidnapping, torture and other counts stemming from the October 2012 incident. If convicted, they each face up to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Prosecutors said the Kevorkians and two other men who also face charges mistakenly believed the victim, a prosperous pot dispensary owner, had buried piles of cash in the desert.
Authorities said Ryan Kevorkian, Kyle Shirakawa Handley and Hossein Nayeri went to the man’s Newport Beach home, stolen cash, bound and beat him before kidnapping him along with his roommate’s girlfriend, then drove them out to a desert spot in a van.
During the drive, the dispensary owner was burned with a blowtorch, authorities said.
At the spot where the men believed the victim had hidden his money, they cut off his penis, poured bleach on him in an effort to destroy any DNA evidence and dumped him and the woman on the side of the road, authorities said. The three men allegedly then drove away with the penis so that it couldn’t be reattached.
The man survived his injuries.
The FBI arrested Nayeri, 34, in the Czech Republic last week. Handley was arrested in October 2012.
Naomi Kevorkian is accused of participating in the plan to kidnap and torture, investigators said.
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