NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. (KABC) -- A former Newport Beach marijuana grower is back in court to face charges connected to his January 2016 escape from the Orange County Jail.
Hossein Nayeri is charged with unlawful escape from pending felony charges, unlawful taking of a vehicle and kidnapping during the commission of a carjacking.
In Oct. 2020 Nayeri was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for kidnapping and torturing a Newport Beach marijuana dispensary owner in 2012, who was sexually mutilated in the Mojave Desert.
On Wednesday, 79 potential jurors gathered for jury selection.
The process of narrowing down the pool of potential jurors started with the prosecution and the defense, including Nayeri, introducing themselves.
Judge Larry Yellin said 12 jurors and alternates will be picked over the next two days.
Once seated, the jury will decide if Nayeri orchestrated a daring escape from the OC jail with two other inmates while waiting to go on trial for the 2012 crimes.
The Orange County Sheriff's Department said the men cut through steel bars and plumbing tunnels to gain access to an unsecured roof.
OCSD said Nayeri and the two other inmates then used sheets to rappel down to the ground and fled on foot.
Nayeri was on the run for eight days before a homeless man in San Francisco spotted him and one of the other fugitives and called authorities. The other escaped inmate had surrendered a few days prior.
Opening statements in Nayeri's escape from jail trial are set to begin on Monday.
Judge Yellin said jury deliberation are expected to start on Thursday, March 16.