Alleged mastermind behind 2016 Orange County jail escape testifies ahead of closing arguments

David González Image
Wednesday, March 15, 2023
Alleged mastermind behind OC jailbreak takes the stand in his trial
The alleged mastermind of a brazen escape from Orange County Jail seven years ago took the stand in his trial and denied kidnapping a taxi driver while on the lam.

SANTA ANA, Calif. (KABC) -- Hossein Nayeri, the man allegedly behind a brazen escape from the Orange County Jail in January 2016, denies kidnapping a taxi driver while on the lam.

On the witness stand on Tuesday, Nayeri said that Jonathan Tieu and Bac Duong, the two other inmates who also escaped, agreed to pay Long Hoang Ma $10,000 for his help.

"Ma could move about just like anybody else," Nayeri said.

He testified that everyone played a role before, during and after the jailbreak.

RELATED: Trial begins for alleged mastermind behind brazen OC jailbreak in 2016

A 44-year-old man masterminded a daring escape from Orange County Jail seven years ago and held a cab driver against his will, a prosecutor told jurors.

"It was parts that I did," Nayeri said. "It was parts somebody else did. It was parts that was planned that of course I was a part of. I had help elsewhere, so this wasn't just a one man show."

During cross examination prosecutors, challenged Nayeri on whether or not the inmates had ever been in possession of a handgun.

"From the second me, Jonathan and Bac escaped from Orange County Sheriff's Department's jail to the second me and Jonathan got arrested in San Francisco; minute one to minute end, not no one had a revolver, semi-automatic, automatic of any kind of gun. Period," Nayeri said.

Nayeri was sentenced to life in prison without parole last year for torturing a marijuana dispensary owner in a kidnapping-extortion scheme in 2012.

Closing arguments in his current trial are expected to start on Wednesday.

Nayeri's escape from jail and kidnapping trial is expected to wrap up this week and the jury could start deliberating as soon as this Thursday.