Robert Ergonis On trial on five felony charges HO

Josh Conway was held captive at gunpoint for 10 hours, beaten, tortured with a knife and bitten all because his ex-girlfriend told a lie, Assistant Attorney General Kim Ortiz told jurors Tuesday.

Kumari Fulbright, 28, told Robert Ergonis, another ex-boyfriend, that Conway had stolen a Rolex and two diamond rings from her, Ortiz said.

In reality, Ortiz said Conway sold the jewelry at her request.

Ergonis, 47, is on trial in Pima County Superior Court on five felony charges, two counts of aggravated assault, kidnapping, armed robbery and aggravated robbery.

On Dec. 8, 2007, Fulbright lured Conway to her apartment saying she wanted to see the lights at Winterhaven and when he arrived, Ergonis and his "henchman" David Radde jumped him, Ortiz said.

Over the next several hours, Ortiz said Conway was tortured at two separate locations, but he managed to escape when he was left alone with Fulbright for a short period of time. Fulbright was arrested the same night. At the time, she was a UA law student and a volunteer clerk in U.S. District Court.

Ortiz told jurors they will hear testimony from Fulbright, Radde and Larry Hammond, all of whom were charged in the case. They each have accepted plea agreements and all of them are awaiting sentencing.

Defense attorney Paul Gattone told jurors all three "know they are going to get a good deal as long as they say what needs to be said" in the eyes of the prosecutors.

The evidence will show Conway stole and sold Fulbright's jewelry to pay off a $16,000 drug debt and Fulbright blackmailed Ergonis into helping her get the jewelry back, he told jurors. The only person who caused Conway physical harm, Gattone said, was Fulbright, whom he described as being "the princess, the beauty queen, the center of the universe."

Pima County Superior Court Judge Michael Miller is presiding over the trial.

Contact Kim Smith at 573-4241 or kimsmith@azstarnet.com