The ex-wife of a man on trial for the kidnapping, torture and sexual mutilation of a marijuana dispensary owner testified Wednesday to having lived in fear of her former spouse and having felt powerless to refuse to aid him in the run-up to the abduction.
Cortney Shegerian took the stand for the second day in a Newport Beach courtroom to testify as a key witness against Hossein Nayeri, who is accused of teaming up with a pair of high school friends to kidnap and torture a marijuana dispensary owner in an attempt to find a non-existent $1 million they falsely believed the man had buried in the desert.
Nayeri has denied taking part in the abduction, with his attorney raising the possibility that other men may have carried it out.
Shegerian, who met Nayeri when she was 16 and he was 23, said she married Nayeri without her parents’ knowledge. Over time, Nayeri persuaded Shegerian to steal about $150,000 from her parents in order to fund his “lifestyle” and a marijuana grow house, she said. Shegerian said she was “terrified” of Nayeri, alleging there was violence in their relationship.
“There were two parts of his personality,” Shegerian said. “There was the nice, charming, manipulative, draw-you-in part. Then there was this angry, crazy, temper-driven part, and it could go from zero to a thousand in a minute. And I didn’t feel like I could tell him no to anything.”
While witnesses in the trial have described the other two men accused of being involved in the kidnapping and torture – Kyle Handley and Ryan Kevorkian – as not particularly bright, Shegerian said Nayeri is “extremely intelligent.”
Prosecutors allege that Nayeri and the two other men, broke into a Newport Beach home on Oct. 2, 2012 and kidnapped the marijuana dispensary owner