'I'm A Nice Guy,' Says Man Accused Of Ordering Penis Chopping
The escaped OC inmate accused of kidnapping and torturing a marijuana shop owner says he's just a misunderstood "nice guy."Hossein Nayeri, 37, was one of three men to escape from Central Men's Jail in Santa Ana last month. He was on the lam for eight days before he was arrested in a Whole Foods parking lot in San Francisco. Now back in custody, he says he's not who the police and media claim. "The media coverage was insane. I was convicted in the court of public opinion. It blows my mind," he told the OC Register in an interview at the jail. He event went so far as to say, "I'm a nice guy."
Nayeri also said that he's "done a lot of things for humanity that are opposite of what I have been accused of."
He did not explain what these things were, nor did he respond to allegations that he was the one who came up with their escape plan in the first place, or that he advocated for the murder of a 74-year-old taxi driver that the three escapees kidnapped early in their escape. He did deny that he was aided in the escape by Nooshafarin Ravaghi, an ESL teacher at the prison who was accused of supplying him with Google maps of the facility.
He claims that he didn't mean to hurt anyone during his vacation from jail, and that his escape wasn't particularly enjoyable, considering the stress of trying to hide from police while you're the subject of a high-profile manhunt. He did note that the manhunt probably made deputies a lot of money in overtime. How thoughtful.
Nayeri is facing charges that he was the ringleader in a 2012 scheme to rob the owner of a Newport Beach marijuana dispensary. He and his cohorts allegedly kidnapped the man and his girlfriend and drove them out to the desert where they wrongly believed the man had buried $1 million. The kidnappers are accused of using a blowtorch on the man, pouring bleach on him and chopping off his penis before leaving the man and his girlfriend for dead. The girlfriend, though bound, was able to run for help and both survived. Nayeri claims he actually didn't do any of that, and that he was very sad when he was first jailed.
After the alleged kidnapping, Nayeri left the U.S. for his home country of Iran, a country with which the U.S. does not have an extradition agreement. His ex-wife worked with authorities to lure him into the Czech Republic, where authorities arrested him and had him extradited. She went into hiding while he was on the loose.
Nayeri escaped the jail in the early morning hours of Friday, Jan. 22 with Jonathan Tieu, 20, and Bac Duong, 43. Authorities believe the three cut through metal grates and bars to access plumbing and ventilation tunnels, then made their way to the roof where they rappelled down the side of the building uses ropes made from cloth and bedsheets. The men were then allegedly picked up by an accomplice of Duong's and visited a number of homes before calling a cab in Santa Ana to take them to a Target in Rosemead. The men allegedly kidnapped the driver, 74-year-old Long Ma, at gunpoint. The following day, Duong allegedly stole a van listed on Craigslist and the men took the van, the taxi driver and the taxi up to San Jose where they checked into a motel. There, it is believed that Duong and Nayeri fought over whether they should kill the taxi driver or not, with Duong in favor of sparing the driver.
When Nayeri and Tieu left to go get the van's windows tinted, Duong took the taxi driver and his taxi back to Santa Ana where Duong released the driver and turned himself into authorities. Duong pointed investigators north, and a witness reported seeing the stolen van in the parking lot of a San Francisco Whole Foods. Nayeri attempted to flee on foot as authorities approached, but was quickly apprehended. Tieu was found hiding in the van.