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Kidnap case moves forward

Arraignment set for Fountain Valley man accused of taking part in the abduction and beating of Newport man.

April 25, 2013|By Lauren Williams

Months before a Newport Beach man was kidnapped and severely beaten last year, he had traveled to Las Vegas with a business acquaintance he knew from his Orange County medical marijuana dispensary, according to court testimony given Wednesday by police detectives who investigated the attack.

On that trip to the desert, the Balboa Peninsula resident spent tens of thousands of dollars on hotel suites and gambling and allegedly paid for his associate to have a massage that included a sexual act, according to the Newport Beach Police detectives.

But five months later, the Newport man was kidnapped, beaten, tortured and left by the side of the road with his bruised female roommate in the Mojave Desert — the apparent victims of a group of assailants.

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Now the man's traveling companion, Kyle Shirakawa Handley, 34, of Fountain Valley, stands accused of being part of a group of assailants who abducted and harmed the Newport man, 29, and his roommate, 53, neither of whom the Daily Pilot is naming because they are victims of violent crimes.

Though the violent acts were committed by a group of people, Handley will be the first to face trial on charges that he was involved in the kidnapping, beating and torture of the male victim.

Prosecutors allege that his pickup truck, zip ties and other evidence connect him at least in part to crimes committed by a larger group of people. However, Handley's defense attorney explained in a preliminary hearing Wednesday that the evidence against his client was so thin it could be "anorexic."

Orange County Superior Court Commissioner James S. Odriozola determined at the Santa Ana hearing that police and prosecutors presented enough evidence to move the case forward to a May 7 arraignment.

"The standard at a preliminary hearing is near probable cause, and the judge did not offer an opinion as to whether my client was in fact guilty of the offense," defense attorney Robert Weinberg said after the proceeding. "Now, in all fairness to the prosecution, their investigation is not over.

"So, there hasn't been a trial on the case yet, and my client and I are anxiously awaiting the forensic testing, all of which has turn up empty linking my client personally to anything. It is hard for even the most hardened follower of serious felony cases not to be disgusted with the demonic cruelty shown to the victim in this case."

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