BURBANK — Prosecutors on Monday began laying out their case against five people who they say kidnapped and tortured two loan modification agents, who were allegedly beaten, whipped with an extension cord and threatened with dismemberment.
Luis Garcia testified in Los Angeles County Superior Court Monday that on Oct. 20 he was called to a residential office in the 400 block of South Verdugo Road in Glendale by fellow agent Lamond Dean, who was allegedly being tortured inside.
When Garcia entered through the office front door, he testified that La Cañada resident Daniel Weston hit him on the forehead with a gun, which had a silencer attached.
Weston told him, “Do you know who I am, [expletive]?” he said during a preliminary hearing in Burbank.
Weston and La Cañada resident Mary Ann Parmelee, both 52; Mario Gonzales, 47, of Glendale; Marissa Parker, 49, of Sylmar; and Gustavo Canez, 36, of Los Angeles are charged with beating and torturing the agents for allegedly scamming them out of money during a loan modification.
The failure to modify the loan for Parmelee and Weston’s home on the 800 block of La Porta Drive in La Cañada reportedly led to it being foreclosed, officials said.
They all face two counts of torture; two counts of false imprisonment by violence; two counts of assault by means likely to produce great bodily harm; two counts of assault with a deadly weapon; two counts of assault with a firearm and two counts of second-degree robbery.
After being hit, Garcia lost consciousness. He awoke in the back room of the office, stripped to his underwear, he said.
Bound to a chair with an extension cord, Garcia said he was beaten repeatedly before losing consciousness. When he came to, Parmelee was holding a kitchen knife to his testicles, he testified.
Glendale police officers told the court that Dean had apparently discovered that Garcia was scamming home loan clients, including Gonzales, Parker and Parmelee, and so he requested a meeting at his south Glendale office to figure out what happened.
Gonzales and Dean went to the back of the office, but were followed by Weston and Canez, who beat and kicked him, Glendale Police Officer Warren Holmes said.
They also took off Dean’s clothes and whipped him with an extension cord, Holmes said, adding that he saw a cut on the back of Dean’s head, large bloodied markings on his body and a cut finger.
Weston had allegedly threatened to cut off Dean’s finger with a pair of scissors, Holmes said.
The attackers allegedly allowed Dean to make phone calls and text messages, but instead of calling police, he called Garcia for help, Holmes said.
The prosecution was scheduled to call more witnesses for testimony Tuesday.