A Snapchat message to Norman Early III from a woman he went to see ended up turning into a beating from her husband and his fellow Marines.
Lance Cpl. Sergio Medina was stationed at Twentynine Palms in California and had discovered that his wife, Diana Reyes, had kissed Early while Medina was deployed overseas.
According to records, while on leave last year, Medina called on his Marine buddies and decided to teach Early a lesson.
Reports of Reyes and Early knowing each other for several years had turned into more than friendship while her husband was serving overseas.
Receiving messages from whom he thought was the woman inviting him to go over to her house, turned out to be her husband using her cellphone to talk to Early.
According to a criminal complaint filed in this case, Early said a car alarm went over as he saw a man running towards him. At this time he had locked the front door, locked it and turned around to see three Marines before him.
The men were described to be wearing hockey masks began punching, kicking and pushed Early to the ground. He later told police he struggle to fight but the assailants had pinned him down on his stomach, zip-tied his wrists and continued to punch and kick him in his face and body. Early began to shout, but a sock was stuffed into his mouth and sealed with tape. Early also said they had wrapped a belt around his neck so tightly he almost passed out.
The Marines had one question, “Did you know she was married?”
Early in response claimed the woman told him she was separated and getting a divorce. He claimed he loved the woman, saying he had never had sex with her, but the two had been romantically involved.
The men were taunting him and claimed they held him captive for 30 minutes claiming they shouted, “You think you are better than us?”
One of the men walked to Early’s car where he kept a BB gun, then pointed an object that felt like the barrel of a gun to his head and told Early, “We are going to kill you with your own gun,” Early said.
Records state that the men also stole Early’s wallet and cellphone, warned him not to get police involved and then let him leave. They followed him to the highway, where Early got off the highway and pulled into a 7-Eleven. He pushed his vehicle’s OnStar button to request emergency help.
Authorities said Early sustained an orbital fracture, numerous contusions to his head and body, marks around his neck and wrists and his eye was bruised and swollen shut. While recovering doctors said, Early’s kidneys failed and he was put on dialysis.
Twenty-two-year-old Medina and his friends, Lance Cpl. Rodrigo Sanchez and Lance Cpl. Leonardo Ortiz, both 21, were sentenced Wednesday for robbery in concert — Medina receiving a six-year term and Sanchez and Ortiz a three-year term, each.
Initially charged with several felonies that included attempted murder, kidnapping and torture, those charges were dismissed during the preliminary hearing. The prosecutor in the case worried he’d fail to get an entire jury to convict the men of torture that carries a maximum sentence of life in prison. Lawyers accepted a plea deal for first-degree robbery.
The men were charged for robbery in concert, Medina received a six-year term and Rodrigo Sanchez and Leonardo Ortiz a three-year term each.
Officials said the men have been discharged from the Marine Corps.