A 47-year-old part-time resident was sentenced to 22 1/2 years in prison Thursday for his part in the December 2008 kidnapping of a financial adviser.
A Pima County jury convicted Robert Ergonis last month of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, kidnapping, armed robbery and aggravated robbery.
Prosecutors told jurors former UA law school student Kumari Fulbright misled Ergonis, her former fiance, into thinking Joshua Conway had stolen and sold $50,000 worth of jewelry Ergonis had given her.
On Dec. 8, 2007, Fulbright lured Conway to her apartment, and Ergonis and David Radde jumped him and forced him at gunpoint to another location, prosecutors said. Once there, another man, Larry Hammond, helped to detain him. Conway was beaten, cut with a knife and held at gunpoint for hours until he was able to escape.
Fulbright, Radde and Hammond entered deals with the state and agreed to testify against Ergonis.
Fulbright insisted Conway really did steal her jewelry and the plan was only for Ergonis to talk Conway into telling them where the jewelry was. She testified she never saw Ergonis with a weapon.
Jurors acquitted Ergonis on a second count of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, choosing instead to convict him of a less serious assault charge.
Prosecutors revealed at trial Fulbright has been writing Ergonis for months, using his mother as a conduit. She once wrote she didn't want to testify against Ergonis, the case against Ergonis was weak and her attorney at the time told her it would be "suicide" for the prosecutors to put her on the stand.
Fulbright was sentenced to two years in prison plus six years' probation for conspiracy to commit kidnapping and aggravated assault.
Hammond, 42, pleaded guilty to aggravated assault and was placed on probation.
Radde, 47, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit kidnapping and to drug and weapons charges in an unrelated case. He was sentenced to 4.25 years.
On StarNet: Find more photos of Kumari Fulbright with this story at azstarnet.com