A Fresno woman pleaded guilty to being an accessory to the crime in the 2012 case of a kidnapping and torture of a Newport Beach marijuana dispensary owner on Wednesday.
Naomi Josette Rhodus, 41, was arrested in 2013 and was sentenced Wednesday to three years of informal probation.
On Oct. 2, 2012, co-defendants Hossein Nayeri, Kyle Shirakawa Handley and Ryan Anthony Kevorkian abducted a marijuana dispensary owner and his female roommate from a Newport Beach home on 25th Street. The masked men forced the two at gunpoint to get into a van and drove them to the Mojave Desert.
The men demanded the dispensary owner reveal to them the location of $1 million they believed he had hidden there.
The victim, whose identity is being withheld by the Daily Pilot due to the nature of the crime, was beaten severely by his captors and was doused in bleach. They also severed his penis before abandoning him in the desert. He was later rescued after his housemate was able to free herself and hail a passing sheriff’s deputy.
Rhodus is the last of the four arrested in connection with the crime. She was initially charged with two felony counts of kidnapping for ransom or extortion or to commit robbery or a sex crime; one felony count of aggravated mayhem; one felony count of torture; one felony count of first-degree burglary; and one misdemeanor count of being an accessory to or having knowledge of the crime.
She was also subject to a sentencing enhancement of inflicting great bodily injury. All but the misdemeanor charge were dismissed.
Nayeri was found guilty in a jury trial in 2019 and sentenced to life in prison without parole. Handley was found guilty in a jury trial in 2018 and was also sentenced to life in prison. Kevorkian pleaded guilty to two felony charges of kidnapping and first-degree burglary in May last year. Kevorkian was sentenced to 12 years and four months in state prison and was given credit for time served.
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