California governor commutes sentences, including for murder

California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Friday pardoned five people who already served their time and commuted the sentences of 21 state prison inmates, including more than a dozen convicted of murder or related crimes. The victims were children in two of the cases and a pregnant woman in a third.

The clemency requests were being considered before the coronavirus crisis, “and, as resources permitted, the governor decided to move forward with them,” spokeswoman Vicky Waters said in an email.

Attorneys representing inmates this week asked federal judges to free thousands of inmates to help prisons better confront the pandemic, which has sickened one inmate and 12 employees. Newsom said mass inmate releases would further burden strained community health care systems and homelessness programs. But he stopped transfers into the system for 30 days.

Aside from his usual consideration of public safety and justice factors, Waters said that because of the pandemic, the governor “also considered the public health impact of each grant, as well as each inmate’s individual health status and the suitability of their post-release plans, including housing.”

Most people infected with coronavirus have mild or moderate symptoms, but it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death, for some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems.

Many of those given clemency or pardons were under age 26 at the time of their crimes, and they have since participated in rehabilitation programs, Waters said. Most of the commutations allow inmates to seek parole, but release decisions will still be made by the Board of Parole Hearings.

Newsom’s commutations include include 14 inmates convicted of murder or related crimes.

Suzanne Johnson, 75, of San Diego County, has served 22 years for assault on a child causing death, while 64-year-old Joann Parks of Los Angeles County, has served 27 years but denies setting a fire in her home that resulted in the deaths of her three young children.

Rodney McNeal, 50, of San Bernardino County, has served 22 years for fatally stabbing his pregnant wife, a crime he also denies.

The others include:

— Kristopher Blehm, 35, of Santa Barbara County, has served nearly 12 years for helping murder his crime partner’s romantic rival.

— Steven Bradley, 56, of Kern County, has served 32 years for killing a gas station attendant during a robbery.

— Jason Bryant, 40, of Shasta County, has served 20 years for armed robberies in which one victim was fatally shot by an accomplice.

— Rosemary Dyer, 67, of Los Angeles County, has served more than 33 years for fatally shooting her husband.

— Samuel Eldredge, 61, of Humboldt County, has served 25 years for fatally shooting his crime partner’s housemate.

— Richard Flowers, 64, of Tulare County, has served more than 25 years for killing a woman during a robbery.

— Robert Glass, 48, of Los Angeles County, has served more than 26 years for murder during a burglary.

— James Harris, 56, of Los Angeles County, has served more than 30 years for a drug sales-related kidnapping and the murder of two victims.

— David Jassy, 45, Los Angeles County, has served 11 years for killing a man during an altercation.

— Shyrl Lamar, 68, of Sacramento County, participated in a robbery in which her crime partner fatally stabbed two victims.

— Ramon Rodriguez, 49, of Los Angeles County, has served 22 years after he was paid to kill the victim.

Two of the pardons are intended to help lawful immigrants who face the possibility of being deported based on crimes they committed years ago. Waters said that would be “an unjust collateral consequence that would harm their families and communities.”

One is Tri Thai, who the governor’s office said was age 18 in 1994 when he was convicted of receiving stolen property and age 21 when he was convicted of a gang-related assault with a firearm, second degree burglary, and attempting to dissuade a witness.

The other is Monsuru Tijani, who was convicted of perjury in 1986, check fraud in 1991, submitting false financial statements in 1995, and submitting false financial statements in 1999. The governor’s office said he “has turned his life around,” but he faces religious persecution and possible incarceration if he is deported to Nigeria because of his conversion to Christianity.

The remaining three pardons are all Los Angeles County cases.

Gabriel Garcia and Shannon Thomas-Bland were separately convicted of drug offenses in their early to mid-20s about three decades ago. Brenda Ibanez robbed two convenience stores in 1999, and in 2005 she tried to buy motorcycles with a fake driver’s license.

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Santa Ana man gets 10-year sentence for fatal DUI crash in Diamond Bar

A Santa Ana man was sentenced to 10 years in prison on Monday, March 2, for an alcohol-related crash that killed two people on the southbound Orange (57) Freeway in Diamond Bar in 2017.

Vincent Delavega, 31, pleaded no contest in January to gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated in the Oct. 28, 2017, deaths of Eduardo Goncalves-Lins, 28, of Costa Mesa, and his passenger, Paula Queiroz-Lopes, 24, of Diamond Bar.

Goncalves-Lins was driving a 2014 Toyota Corolla south on the freeway when he veered to the right and crashed into the back of a tow truck parked on the right shoulder just south of Diamond Bar Boulevard shortly before 3 a.m., according to the California Highway Patrol. About a minute later, Delavega’s Toyota Tacoma struck the Corolla, and both the driver and passenger were thrown onto the freeway, a CHP spokesman said.

Delavega, who suffered fractured ribs and bruises to his chest, was arrested at the scene.

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Man pleads guilty to taking unauthorized ‘upskirt’ photos of a woman at Irvine car wash, is sentenced to community service

NEWPORT BEACH — A 45-year-old Portola Hills man pleaded guilty Tuesday to taking upskirt photos of a woman at an Irvine car wash and was immediately sentenced to perform 80 hours of community service.

Nathan Martin Haley, 45, of Portola Hills, was charged March 20 with a single misdemeanor count of using a concealed recording device to photograph a woman without her consent. (Photo courtesy of the Irvine Police Department)

Nathan Martin Haley pleaded guilty to a single misdemeanor count of using a concealed recording device to photograph a woman without her consent. He was placed on three years of informal probation and ordered to take 10 sexual boundary classes, his attorney Brian Gurwitz said.

The woman called Irvine police on July 31, 2018, alleging that a suspect used his phone to take pictures of her under her skirt at a car wash at 3080 Main St., according to Kim Mohr of the Irvine Police Department.

She said the man pretended to drop his phone under her dress; she further reported that he attempted again to place his phone on the ground near her as she vacuumed her car, Mohr said.

The woman took a picture of the suspect’s blue Mini Cooper as he drove away and, with the car’s license plate, police identified Haley as a suspect, Mohr said.

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Defendant in 2017 Garden Grove stabbing pleads guilty to manslaughter

SANTA ANA — A 21-year-old man has pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter in the fatal stabbing of a transient in Garden Grove two years ago.

Daniel Robert Jones-Hoebel pleaded guilty on Friday to voluntary manslaughter and assault with a deadly weapon, both felonies.

Jones-Hoebel killed 20-year-old Genaro Diaz on June 9, 2017, according to evidence presented in his preliminary hearing.

Police were called about 9:19 p.m. the night of the killing to 12862 Haster St., where Diaz had been stabbed to death.

Daniel Jones-Hoebel, 21, was arrested in 2017 by the Garden Grove Police Department as a suspect in the stabbing of 20-year-old Genaro Diaz. He pleaded guilty on Friday, June 7 to felony charges of voluntary manslaughter and assault with a deadly weapon. (Courtesy of the Garden Grove Police Department)

Diaz had gotten into an argument with a former girlfriend, who was letting the transient sleep in her car, that escalated into Diaz punching the woman, who was the mother of their 3-year-old daughter, according to testimony in the preliminary hearing. Jones-Hoebel was dating the woman’s friend, who called him and another man to the scene, police testified.

Jones-Hoebel got into a fight with Diaz that led to the victim’s stabbing with a switchblade, police testified.

Jones-Hoebel had been charged with murder, but was allowed to plead to the lesser offense as part of a plea deal negotiated with prosecutors. The defendant was scheduled to be sentenced Aug. 9 in the Central Justice Center in Santa Ana.

He was the second of two men arrested on suspicion of Diaz’s killing. Garden Grove resident Antonio Esquivel was taken into custody as a suspect on the night of the stabbing, but court records show he was never prosecuted in connection to the incident. Police found and booked Jones-Hoebel five days later.

Register reporter Eric Licas contributed to this story.

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Allison Mack, an actress with OC ties, pleads guilty in scheme involving sex slaves for a cult-like group in New York

NEW YORK — TV actress Allison Mack pleaded guilty Monday to charges she was involved in a scheme to turn women into sex slaves for the spiritual leader of a cult-like upstate New York group, a development that came on the same day jury selection began for a federal trial in the case.

FILE – This June 26, 2012, file photo shows television actress Allison Mack at a party in Los Angeles. (Photo by Todd Williamson/Invision/AP, File)

Mack, 36, wept as she admitted her crimes and apologized to the women who prosecutors say were exploited by Keith Raniere and the purported self-help group called NXIVM.

“I believed Keith Raniere’s intentions were to help people, and I was wrong,” Mack told a Brooklyn judge.

Mack – best known for her role as a young Superman’s close friend on the series “Smallville” – said that after months of reflection since her arrest, “I know I can and will be a better person.”

The actress is to be sentenced Sept. 11 on two racketeering counts that each carry maximum terms of 20 years in prison. However, it’s likely she would face far less time under sentencing guidelines.

After her arrest last year, a federal judge agreed to release Mack on $5 million bond and place her under home detention.  She planned to live with her parents at their home in Los Alamitos as she awaited further legal proceedings, The Associated Press reported.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Mack was born in Germany, where her father was an opera singer. The family later moved to Southern California and Mack graduated from the Orange County High School of the Arts in Santa Ana, now called the Orange County School of the Arts.

The Register contributed to this story.

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California news agencies join forces to obtain previously secret records from hundreds of police agencies

One Los Angeles police officer had sex with a drug addict he met on foot patrol. A San Diego County sheriff’s deputy was linked to a Mexican drug cartel. That same deputy sold erectile dysfunction pills illegally to a colleague in a jail parking lot. A Brea police sergeant hawked official shoulder patches he took from the department for $95 apiece.

Such misconduct, once secret under four decades of police confidentiality statutes, now must disclosed under a new transparency law targeting police personnel records. Since late last year, police unions have been fighting fiercely in California’s courthouses to keep the internal misconduct files of their members under wraps, with little success.

But news organizations throughout the state are fighting back, forming an unprecedented collaboration to harvest and share records from every law enforcement agency in California. Putting aside competition, 32 online, radio and print agencies are working together to ensure the public gets all the information possible — and as fast as possible.

Under the new law, the collaboration has made 1,137 public records requests from 675 agencies employing police officers.

“We’re proud to partner with news organizations from throughout California on this very important public-service journalism project,” said Frank Pine, executive editor of the Southern California News Group and Bay Area News Group. “If democracy is to flourish, government agencies must be accountable to the people, and that can’t happen if the people are denied access to public records. This is especially important when it comes to law enforcement agencies, to which we entrust our safety and protection.

“The public has a right to review circumstances or incidents in which complaints or claims of serious misconduct by officers are substantiated or when officers shoot at, seriously injure or kill a member of the public,” Pine said.

Other collaborators are the Los Angeles Times, Southern California Public Radio and Voice of Orange County.

The new law — SB 1421 by state Sen. Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley — took effect Jan. 1, opening all previously hidden internal files involving shootings and the use of deadly force as well as sustained incidents of sexual misconduct and dishonesty.

Theresa Smith has been fighting for that information for nearly a decade, since her 35-year-old son, Caesar Cruz, was shot dead by five Anaheim police officers on Dec. 11, 2009. Police said they saw him reaching for his waistband, as if he were grabbing a gun. But Cruz was unarmed. Officers were operating on a tip that he was carrying a gun and selling meth.

Smith says she knows there often is more to police shootings than the official version.

“There are a lot of untruths being told. (SB) 1421 is so the public can know things,” Smith said, explaining that for the longest time, officers have been able to release the backgrounds of those arrested for crimes without having to disclose their own.

“First they kill them, and then they kill their character,” said Smith, who has become a civil rights advocate. She and her family settled their wrongful death lawsuit against the city of Anaheim for $175,000, but she still believes she hasn’t been told everything.

Perhaps the once-secret files and videos on police shootings will be more forthcoming than the public accounts that always seem to have the same ending.

“It’s the same story, the same story, ‘(officers) feared for their lives,’ ‘he reached for his waistband,’ ” Smith said. “This is the strife I have to see as a mother.”

She added, “If you don’t have anything to hide, why are you fighting so hard?”

Tom Dominguez, president of the union representing Orange County sheriff’s deputies, said the previously secret information can be misused.

“The potential for abuse under this bill will be extraordinary,” Dominguez said. “Not only would the public be given unfettered access to a peace officer’s private information, but they would also be free to provide that information to the media or disseminate it in any way they see fit.”

Many times, he said, the media or criminal defendants set out to “impugn the good character and reputation of individual peace officers.”

Dominguez added that officer-involved shootings undergo much public scrutiny from other government agencies, so no further transparency is needed. Also, there is no evidence that the previously confidential internal affairs process wasn’t working.

Efforts by Dominguez’s group, the Association of Orange County Deputy Sheriffs, to block the release of Orange County Sheriff’s Department records were rejected in court.

“In spite of this legislation and public attacks on the profession,” he said, “(deputies) will continue to do their jobs to keep our residents safe.”

Smith isn’t so trusting.

“They hide everything — if they lied on reports, if they had any sexual misconduct. And that’s important to the families” of those shot or killed by law enforcement.


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Prosecutors: Eight indicted in $123 million Southern California workers’ comp scam

RIVERSIDE — Eight employees of an Inland Empire physicians group that contracted with the state to perform services for people with workers’ compensation insurance claims are under indictment for allegedly defrauding the system in a $123 million scam that involved filling exorbitantly priced prescriptions that were not required to treat patients, prosecutors said Wednesday.

Rancho Cucamonga-based Blue Oak Medical Group came under investigation in March 2017. Evidence was presented to a grand jury in Riverside over a six-week period, after which indictments were handed down on Jan. 17.

The indictments, which were unsealed by Superior Court Judge O.G. Magno on Tuesday, name Kenneth Amodeo, 60, of Agoura Hills; Rosa Bernal, 46, of Covina; Shannon Devane, 41, of Downey; Janek Hunt, a 44-year-old Estonian national; Edgar Lozano, 52, of Porter Ranch; Matthew Rifat, 49, of El Cajon; Hector Sandoval, 54, of Sherman Oaks; and Munir Uwaydah, a 52-year-old Lebanese national.

The defendants are charged with multiple counts of conspiracy, healthcare fraud, money laundering and sentence-enhancing white-collar crime allegations.

Amodeo, Bernal and Lozano were each being held in lieu of $4.7 million bail at the Smith Correctional Facility in Banning; Devane and Rifat were each being held in lieu of $4.7 million at the Robert Presley Jail in Riverside; and Hunt was being held in lieu of $4.7 million at the Byrd Detention Center in Murrieta.

Arrest warrants are pending against Sandoval and Uwaydah, neither of whom were in custody.

Investigators from the Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino County district attorney’s offices, along with the California Pharmacy Board, compiled evidence against the eight, ultimately deciding to anchor the prosecution in Riverside County, where a number of workers’ comp claimants handled by Blue Oak Medical Group resided, according to D.A.’s office spokesman John Hall.

According to an agency statement, the defendants allegedly operated several “sham clinics” that processed thousands of patients, most of whom were prescribed “the same high-priced cocktail of unnecessary medications, regardless of their condition.”

Prosecutors allege that pharmacies managed by several of the conspirators produced the medications, for which the state was billed — even though the prescriptions were seldom, if ever, dispensed to the patients.

According to the prosecution, the defendants laundered their ill- gotten gains through various shell companies, disbursing funds to their cohorts in California, the Middle East and Europe.

Amodeo was the pharmacist allegedly directing the fraudulent operation, along with Uwaydah, a physician whose license is now inactive in California, and Rifat, an attorney, according to prosecutors.

Uwaydah is facing similar charges in Los Angeles County for a 2015 fraud case, prosecutors said.

Amodeo, Bernal and Lozano are slated to be arraigned on Feb. 6 at the Riverside Hall of Justice. Devane, Hunt and Rifat have status conferences set for Feb. 26.

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Highland man suspected in sexual assaults dating to 1995 is charged in Orange County

SANTA ANA – A 53-year-old garage door repairman was charged Monday, Jan. 14 with raping a 9-year-old girl and a woman jogger in south Orange County in the 1990s and molesting a 12-year-old girl between 2002 and 2003.

Kevin Konther, 53, of the San Bernardino County community of Highland, was arrested Thursday at his home after investigators linked him to the 1990s attacks through a genealogy website, Orange County Sheriff Don Barnes said last week.

Konther is charged with two counts each of forcible rape, forcible oral copulation and aggravated sexual assault of a child, as well as one count each of forcible lewd acts on a child younger than 14 and lewd acts on a child younger than 14, all felonies. With sentencing enhancement allegations of kidnapping and sexual assault of multiple victims, he faces up to 140 years to life in prison if convicted.

Konther made his initial court appearance Monday, but his arraignment was rescheduled for Thursday in the Central Jail courtroom in Santa Ana.

He is accused of grabbing a 9-year-old girl who was walking home from a convenience store in Lake Forest at 6:40 p.m. on Oct. 21, 1995.

The girl’s attacker dragged her into a wooded area in Serrano Creek Park, where she was raped and then let go. She ran home, told her parents, and a search ensued that bore no results.

Konther is also accused of kidnapping and raping a 31-year-old woman who was attacked at 11:30 a.m. on June 2, 1998. She was jogging on a Mission Viejo trail near El Toro Road and Marguerite Parkway when she was dragged into some bushes and raped.

Investigators matched the DNA collected from the woman’s rape and linked it to the suspect in the 9-year-old girl’s attack, according to Barnes.

Over a 23-year period, investigators had checked the DNA against law enforcement databases with no luck. In August, using the same technique that led to the arrest of the alleged Golden State Killer, investigators submitted the DNA to an ancestry website and got a match to identical twins.

Konther’s brother was released from custody and investigators said they were confident they have arrested the correct suspect, Barnes said.

While investigating the attacks on the 9-year-old girl and the jogger, authorities also found evidence that Konther allegedly molested a 12-year-old girl three times between January 2002 and December 2003, Deputy District Attorney Michael Carroll said.

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Judge orders Orange County, 3 cities into court over Santa Ana riverbed homeless evictions

A federal judge is ordering Anaheim, Orange, Costa Mesa and Orange County into court to show that local anti-camping ordinances aren’t being used to criminalize homelessness among the hundreds of people being evicted from encampments along the Santa Ana River.

U.S. District Judge David O. Carter issued an order Sunday, Feb. 4, setting a hearing for Feb. 13 in a lawsuit filed on behalf of people being displaced.

“The court is concerned that persons who leave or are evicted from the riverbed may subsequently be cited by defendant cities under those cities’ anti-camping or anti-loitering laws, even though those persons may not be able to find a shelter or other place to sleep,” the judge wrote.

Sheriff’s deputies and county workers began clearing the county’s largest encampment on Jan. 22, and efforts have continued to ramp up since then. Homeless advocates and attorneys mobilized, asserting that there isn’t enough affordable housing or shelters to house the estimated 500 to 1,000 homeless people being displaced from the riverbed.

Many homeless people have said they will relocate to parks and streets in Anaheim and Orange, but the cities have said they will enforce anti-camping ordinances.

Sunday’s court order asks the three cities and the county to bring information to the hearing about how many citations or arrests have been made, if any, under anti-camping or anti-loitering laws since Jan. 1.

The order does not prevent the county from continuing to evict riverbed inhabitants between now and Feb. 13.

Attorney Brooke Weitzman, with the Elder Law and Disability Rights Center, speaks during a press conference at ARTIC in Anaheim on Monday, Jan. 29, 2018. The group is trying to stop the clearing of tent encampments along the Santa Ana River Trail. (Photo by Paul Bersebach, Orange County Register/SCNG)
Attorney Brooke Weitzman, with the Elder Law and Disability Rights Center, speaks during a press conference at ARTIC in Anaheim on Monday, Jan. 29, 2018. The group is trying to stop the clearing of tent encampments along the Santa Ana River Trail. (Photo by Paul Bersebach, Orange County Register/SCNG)

The order comes in response to a lawsuit filed Thursday, Feb. 1 by attorney Brooke Weitzman on behalf of seven homeless people. It seeks to block evictions from the riverbed through the issuance of an injunction.

The judge said the court will welcome testimony by parties on all sides of the encampment issue. Issues will include the circumstances that people living on the riverbed face, the county’s process for clearing the riverbed, how much shelter space is available and the number and background of homeless people in Orange County and in the riverbed.

Carter said he will welcome input from veterans’ groups, service providers, organizations that protect and house abused women and other cities affected by the county’s homeless crisis.

Related coverage: 

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Trial begins for Fountain Valley man accused of kidnapping, mutilation of marijuana dispensary owner

By Paul Anderson
City News Service

SANTA ANA >> A 38-year-old man teamed up with two high school buddies to abduct a marijuana dispensary owner from his Newport Beach home and torture him into telling the trio where they erroneously believed he had stashed $1 million in profits in the Mojave Desert, and when that failed, they cut off his penis and threw it away, a prosecutor told jurors today.

Kyle Shirakawa Handley is charged with two counts of kidnapping for ransom, aggravated mayhem, and torture, all felonies, with a sentencing enhancement allegation for inflicting great bodily injury. If he is convicted, he faces life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Handley’s attorney, Robert Weinberg, deferred making an opening statement in the trial.

Senior Deputy District Attorney Heather Brown told the jury that three men wearing ski masks broke into the Newport Beach home on the peninsula and abducted Michael Simonian and his landlord, Mary Barnes, about 2:30 a.m. on Oct. 2, 2012.

The victims were bound with zip ties, gagged with duct tape and blindfolded, Brown said.

The trio spent about 20 minutes “ransacking the home” before stuffing the two victims into a cargo van, where Simonian was “repeatedly” shot with a Taser, beaten with a rubber pipe, burned — possibly with a blow torch — and kicked during a 90-minute drive to the desert, the prosecutor said.

Barnes smelled methamphetamine being smoked in the van, she said.

The trio affected what sounded like bogus Spanish accents as they demanded to know where Simonian buried $1 million in cash, Brown said. But the victim, who worked in a “heavy cash” business because banks won’t accept medical marijuana profits for deposit, had not buried any money in the desert, she said.

Ultimately, the kidnappers slashed off Simonian’s penis and threw it out the window, Brown said. They left behind a knife for Barnes, admonishing her to count to 100 before trying to find the knife so she could cut herself free, Brown said.

Barnes was found about a mile away, walking on Route 14, her hands still zip-tied, Brown said. A Kern County sheriff’s deputy spotted her and came to her aid.

When authorities returned to the off-road site where the two were abandoned, they found Simonian covered in bleach and badly beaten, Brown said. The bleach was used in an attempt to erase DNA evidence, she said.

The case was a whodunnit as Simonian had no idea who might want to rob or attack him, the prosecutor said. Police lucked out, however, when a neighbor spotted a suspicious looking pickup truck with a ladder that arrived at the Barnes residence, but no one seemed to be doing any work there, Brown said. She gave police a license plate and investigators learned it was registered to Handley, Brown said.

Handley grew up in Fresno with co-defendants Hossein Nayeri, 39, and Ryan Anthony Kevorkian, 38, Brown said. Nayeri made headlines last year when he escaped from the Orange County Jail.

Handley and Nayeri were marijuana growers and Simonian befriended Handley earlier in 2012, taking him on two trips to Las Vegas, Brown said. It was on those trips that Handley likely saw the dispensary owner spending $15,000 for posh hotel rooms and gambling up to $5,000 nightly, she said, and came up with the buried loot theory.

Investigators found a zip tie in Handley’s Fountain Valley residence that had Kevorkian’s DNA on it, Brown said. A blue latex glove found at his home had DNA on it matching Nayeri’s, she said.

On Sept. 26, 2012, Nayeri led police on a chase in Newport Beach and got away, but police recovered his vehicle, which had surveillance cameras and GPS trackers in it, Brown said. Videos in the Chevrolet Tahoe showed hours of surveillance of the residence where Simonian lived with Barnes and her boyfriend, Brown alleged.

Another break came when Nayeri’s wife, Courtney Shagerian, went to claim the Tahoe from the Newport Beach impound yard, the prosecutor said.

Shagerian cooperated with authorities and helped them trick Nayeri, who fled to Iran when Handley was arrested, into getting on a plane in the Czech Republic, where he was taken into custody, Brown said. Investigators wanted to lure Nayeri into the Czech Republic because, unlike Iran, it is easier to extradite a suspect from that country, Brown said.

The GPS trackers she helped obtain showed Simonian had made trips to the Mojave Desert, so they figured he buried his cash there, Brown said.

Police working undercover picked up a towel Kevorkian used at a health club and used the DNA on it to make a match to the zip tie at Handley’s home, she said.

“I expect you will be saddened and sickened” by the evidence in the case, Brown told the jury. “But, also, you’ll be thoroughly convinced of Kyle Handley’s guilt in this case.”

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