An attorney representing Hossein Nayeri, the Newport Beach pot grower and jail escapee convicted of the abduction and brutal torture of a marijuana dispensary owner, is questioning whether misconduct occurred during jury deliberations in his high-profile trial.
Attorney Renee Garcia during a hearing Thursday at the Newport Beach courthouse asked Orange County Superior Court Judge Gregg L. Prickett to release to her the identifying information of jurors who served during Nayeri’s 2019 trial, so she can investigate whether a hold-out juror was improperly pressured during apparently contentious deliberations into a guilty verdict.
Garcia noted that the jury forewoman, and reportedly other jurors, have been interviewed by the news media. Judge Prickett did not rule on whether the juror information will be released, but did ask the defense attorney to file additional written statements backing up her request.
A Newport Beach jury in August 2019 convicted Hossein Nayeri for his involvement in the headline-grabbing 2012 kidnapping, which he is accused of carrying out with the help of two high school friend’s. Prosecutors described Nayeri as the mastermind, who hoped to find a non-existent $1 million he apparently wrongly believed the dispensary owner had buried in the Mojave desert.
The dispensary owner – along with the girlfriend of the man who owned the home he was living at – were abducted at gunpoint. During a two-hour-plus drive to the desert, the kidnappers tortured the dispensary owner with rubber piping, a Taser and a blow torch. Then, they cut the dispensary owner’s penis off and left him and the woman, still bound, behind in the desert.
During his trial, Nayeri denied playing any role in the kidnapping, though he admitted to surveilling the dispensary owner for months leading up the abduction. He gained further notoriety prior to trial by teaming up with two