Pair accused of kidnapping, torture

Two men have been charged with the kidnapping and torture of a Port Orchard man, who police say was serving as a witness in fraud investigation that implicated one of the alleged attackers.

Jaymes Gardner and William Ritter, both of Port Orchard, were formally charged Wednesday afternoon in Kitsap County Superior Court. Both are being charged with first-degree kidnapping and intimidating a witness. KIdnapping is a charge which carries the maximum sentence of life in prison.

Ritter was also charged with first-degree robbery for allegedly stealing the victim’s jewelry.

Police originally arrested both men for the additional charges of first-degree rape and first-degree assault, but the county prosecutor’s office said it opted to focus on the charge of kidnapping. Chief deputy prosecuting attorney Chris Casad said the kidnapping charge also covers the charges of assault and rape, but carries a much stiffer penalty.

“Kidnapping-tortures are not something we normally encounter in the area,” said MIke Davis, chief of detectives for the KItsap County Sheriffs Department.

According to police reports, Ritter and Gardner invited the victim to a friend’s house in Bremerton on Halloween evening. When the victim arrived, they allegedly stuffed him into the trunk of their car and drove him to a cottage north of Poulsbo.

There, they allegedly burnt him with cigarettes, a branding iron and a hot torch. The victim also said they forced him to sodomize himself, and took pictures while he was doing it.

The victim escaped the morning of Nov. 2 to a nearby cottage and called for a ride to Harrison Hospital, where he was treated and released.

“He’s going to be fine,” Davis said. “He’s traumatized, as you can imagine.”

Police suspect the victim was attacked as punishment for talking to police after he was arrested for trying to cash a bad check several days earlier. The victim implicated Ritter in the forgery, and Gardner, in a statement, said the victim needed to be taught a lesson.

The victim’s father, who also lives in Port Orchard, said his son was doing fine.

“It’s been kind of a shaky time,” he said. “We’re just waiting for the court dates to come up so we can get this resolved and get back to a normal life.”

The trial date for both defendants has been set for Dec. 26.

Deputy Prosecutor Neil Wechter, who is trying both cases, said there is a reasonable chance the two cases will be tried together.

Gardner’s bail has been set at $125,000, while Ritter’s bail is $140,000.

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