Teen testifies about violent kidnapping ordeal
Published Monday, December 2, 2013 5:41PM EST
Last Updated Tuesday, December 3, 2013 8:41AM EST
MONTREAL -- A Montreal teenager testified in court Monday against members of a street gang who kidnapped him and held him up for ransom last year.
Samuel Vermilus, who had no ties to street gangs whatsoever, was kidnapped steps away from his home on February 29, 2012.
The terrifying ordeal began when four men grabbed him off a street at gunpoint and forced him in the trunk of a Toyota Camry in Anjou. Vermilus testified that he was scared for his life.
With no criminal record and not related to organized crime, Vermilus was targeted because his brother-in-law borrowed money from a street gang.
Unable to catch the brother-in-law, whose debt was a mere $600, the gang randomly picked Vermilus because he was a relative and happened to walk by their car.
The victim was brought to a house in Montreal North where, for 12 hours, he was repeatedly beaten, while his head was covered with a towel so he couldn't see his attackers.
During the ordeal, the kidnappers held a phone to his head so his family could hear his screams. They were also told the original $600 debt had mushroomed to $5000.
Vermilus's family, however, had already called police. Investigators quickly organized a sting operation where the money was supposed to be delivered.
The young man's nightmare finally ended when police surrounded the house where he was being detained. Within minutes, the SWAT team entered the home and freed the victim.
The court alleges that four men were behind the kidnapping and ransom demand: Jean-Manyxe Gercaise, who's free on bail, and co-accused Ralph Coriolan, Jean-Franz Georges and Pierre-Antoine Paul.
Their case is being heard in front of the jury.
So far, the defence is questioning the police work, suggesting that they may have arrested the wrong suspects.
The trial continues all week.