LANCASTER – Two local martial arts instructors have been charged with five felonies for allegedly kidnapping and assaulting at least two victims in September, authorities said.
Ston Lee, 34, and Skoth Ly, 33, were each charged Tuesday with two counts of kidnapping, two counts of assault by means likely to produce great bodily injury, and one count of torture, according to the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office. The criminal complaint identifies two victims and alleges that the incidents took place on September 23 and 24.
Both suspects appeared in an Antelope Valley courtroom Tuesday and pleaded not guilty to the charges, according to the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office.
Sheriff’s detectives were not immediately available for comment on Tuesday. In a statement issued last week, detectives said an 18-year-old male was kidnapped on September 24 in Lancaster and tortured with lit cigarettes, cut with Samurai swords, and beaten. The teen was later released in the area of 20th Street West and Avenue J, sheriff’s officials said previously.
On Nov. 7, authorities served search warrants at the Ston Skoth Martial Arts Academies on 10th Street West and 45th Street West in Lancaster and recovered Samurai swords from both locations.
That day, deputies detained Skoth Ly at a residence on the 44000 block of Gadsden Avenue and detained Ston Lee at a home on the 8300 block of West Avenue F, where deputies also recovered a firearm, drug paraphernalia, and a hydroponic marijuana grow.
Ly and Lee were booked at the Lancaster Station jail Nov. 7 on suspicion of kidnapping, torture and cultivating marijuana, sheriff’s officials said previously. However, the complaint filed Tuesday did not list any drug offenses.
According to the criminal complaint, prosecutors are recommending that bail for each suspect be set at $1.1 million. Ly and Lee remain in custody at the county jail. A preliminary hearing to determine if there’s enough evidence to carry the case to trial is set for Friday, Nov. 22, according to the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office.
UPDATED 12/3/13: The preliminary hearing for Ston Lee and Skoth Lee, originally set for Nov. 22, was instead postponed until Dec. 3. On Dec. 3, both suspects appeared in an Antelope Valley courtroom, however, the preliminary hearing was delayed again, this time until Tuesday, Dec. 17. We will continue to follow this story.
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