By Lauren Williams
10:29 PM PDT, October 23, 2012
Additional details emerged this week about a Newport Beach kidnapping that left two adult victims bound in the Mojave Desert, court documents show.
A Balboa Peninsula resident spotted the three presumed kidnappers unload a ladder from a truck and lean it against the victim's home in the 100 block of 25th Street before the kidnapping occurred, according to public records the Newport Beach Police Department filed.
The suspects extended the ladder to the home's third-story deck and appeared to prepare for work, records show.
However, now police believed the men were involved in the kidnapping, according to court documents.
A 29-year-old man and 53-year-old woman were kidnapped from separate rooms in the home earlier this month. The man was beaten, burned with a torch, doused with bleach and had his penis partially severed, filings show. The relationship of the two victims was unclear.
They were allegedly tied up and left in the desert north of Los Angeles. The woman walked three-quarters of a mile in the Mojave before a Kern County Sheriff's Department deputy found her Oct. 2, according to Newport Beach police.
During the drive through the desert, the suspects would sometimes curse or talk to each other in Spanish, although they were fluent in English as well, according to documents.
The case could be tied to medical marijuana in some form. Police noted that the male victim works at a Santa Ana dispensary, and one of the suspects was previously arrested in Fresno for marijuana cultivation.
Police have said they believe the incident was a targeted attack motivated by money, but it's unclear whether medical marijuana played a direct or indirect role.
A suspect's vehicle was seen near the victim's Newport Beach home earlier on the day of the kidnapping, and suspects told the victim they knew where his loved ones lived.
Police arrested 33-year-old Kyle Shirakawa Handley of Fountain Valley on Oct. 6 in connection with the crime, and two additional suspects remain at large.
Handley's attorney, Robert Weinberg, said he couldn't believe his client could hurt someone to the extent described by police.
"My client strikes me as someone incapable of the diabolical acts that are described in the police reports," he said. "Compassion for the victim, particularly [the male victim], are at the forefront of both my client and my thoughts."
Handley has pleaded not guilty to charges of felony aggravated mayhem, felony torture, felony burglary, two felony counts of kidnapping for ransom and a sentencing enhancement for inflicting great bodily harm. He is in Orange County Jail being held without bail.
Handley's neighbors said aside from an occasional noisy party, he was quiet and didn't interact with other residents very much. One neighbor described him as unfriendly and said he noticed Handley or another resident at the home grew plants in the backyard but did not seem like people who would take an interest in gardening. He could not say what plants were grown at the home.
He also said he noticed the garage at Handley's rented home went from totally empty to filled with ladders one day.
Residents said that they have seen people come and go from the home since police served search warrant this month, and that recently a moving truck came and appeared to move the belongings out of the home Handley lived in since January.
Police ask that if anyone has information regarding the case, they contact Newport Beach police at (800) 550-NBPD, where people can leave anonymous tips, or Det. Ryan Peters at (949) 644-3779.