SANTA ANA, Calif. (KABC) -- A cab driver who was allegedly kidnapped by three inmates involved in an infamous escape from the Orange County jail in 2016 testified Wednesday about the ordeal.
Long Hoang Ma detailed how at one point he thought he was going to be killed by the escaped inmates. He also deflected questions from a defense attorney about episodes in his own past, including sexual-assault allegations by his ex-wife unrelated to the kidnapping incident.
The testimony came during the trial of one of the three inmates, Hossein Nayeri.
The cab driver was allegedly kidnapped by Nayeri, Jonathan Tieu and Bac Duong, after they cut through steel bars and plumbing to escape the jail in January 2016.
Speaking through a Vietnamese translator, Ma told the jury that he was held against his will at gunpoint by the three men and it was hard to understand their conversations.
However, Ma said he heard Nayeri say "Boom, old man" and he thought Nayeri was going to kill him.
Trial begins for alleged mastermind behind brazen Orange County jail escape in 2016
Ma said after that he and Duong fled together and he was going to help Duong turn himself in.
Ma said, "Bac asked me if he could be my adoptive son."
He said he accepted and tried to help Bac by getting him an attorney before dropping him off with his in-laws.
On the witness stand Ma denied accusations that he was hired to help the men escape.
Prosecutor David McMurrin asked, "During the time you were with them until you were free did you ever make an agreement with any of those persons to accept $10,000 to drive them away from Orange County?"
Ma answered: "That was absolutely made up."
Things got heated during cross examination.
Michael Goldfeder, Nayeri's defense attorney, questioned Ma on previous sexual-assault allegations made against him by his ex-wife.
In addition, Goldfeder asked about Ma allegedly uploading nude and lewd photos of his ex-wife on the internet.
Ma refused to answer questions related to his personal life.
"If the matter is relating to the kidnapping then you ask and I will answer and if it doesn't have anything to do with my being kidnapped then please don't ask anymore," Ma exclaimed.
Judge Larry Yellin interjected, "Mr. Ma, you don't get to dictate what gets asked. I've already told you that."
Throughout cross examination the defense showed signs of frustration as Ma provided minimal to no answers to some of their questions.
Nayeri was sentenced to life in prison without parole last year for the sexual mutilation of a marijuana dispensary owner in a kidnapping-extortion scheme in 2012.
Testimony in Nayeri's escape from jail and kidnapping trial is expected to continue on Thursday before the jury goes on break for the weekend.
The trial will resume on Monday.