Two men have been sentenced in federal court this week for their roles in a drug-trafficking conspiracy that led to the kidnapping and torture of an Independence, Missouri, man.
Gerald L. Holmes, also known as “Jerry” or “Joker,” 27, and Richard M. Phoenix, also known as “Snake,” 77, were sentenced in separate appearances before U.S. District Judge Greg Kays. Holmes was sentenced to 25 years in federal prison without parole. Phoenix was sentenced to five years in federal prison without parole.
On August 17, 2018, Holmes pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit kidnapping, one count of kidnapping, one count of conspiracy to distribute 50 kilograms or more of marijuana, and one count of brandishing firearms in furtherance of a drug-trafficking crime.
During the conspiracy, which lasted from May 1 to September 13, 2016, co-defendant Jeremy R. Bond, 40, of Independence, invested $10,000 into the marijuana operation. In return, he received $1,000 a week as interest and free marijuana until the entire principal investment was repaid in full. This investment allowed Holmes and a co-conspirator, identified in court documents as “C.H.” (who had made four trips to Colorado with Gerald Holmes), to purchase greater quantities of marijuana per trip. Once it reached the greater Kansas City metropolitan area, the marijuana was then resold by Gerald Holmes and C.H.
Conspirators purchased at least 120 pounds of marijuana from co-defendant Michael C. Borrusch, also known as “Birdie,” 43, of Lakewood, Colo., for which they made more than a dozen trips between Colorado and Kansas City. Holmes paid Borrusch between $1,600 to $2,400 per pound, depending on the type and quality of marijuana available. Holmes’s father and co-defendant, Randal G. Holmes, also known as “Peckerwood” or “Wood,” 54, of Kansas City, Mo., received $100 for every pound of marijuana brought back to Kansas City because of his prior connection to Borrusch, who was previously his supplier.
On Sept. 12, 2016, Gerald and Randal Holmes agreed to kidnap C.H. because he stole $16,000 that was intended for the purchase of marijuana. C.H. spent the money in Las Vegas, Nev.
They arrived at the Independence, Missouri, residence of the victim’s father, identified as “W.H.,” on Sept. 12, 2016. During their conversation, Gerald Holmes removed a firearm from his waistband and placed it on a table in front of W.H. They told W.H. to call C.H. and tell him he was being held at gunpoint and that C.H. needed to come to the residence right away. When C.H. arrived at the residence, Randal Holmes pointed a firearm at him and told him to get into his vehicle. While in the vehicle, Gerald Holmes struck, punched, and choked C.H. as Randal Holmes drove away.
They took C.H. to Randal Holmes’s residence, where they met Phoenix, who was living with Randal Holmes and his wife. C.H. was taken to the basement, where he was assaulted with fists, a hammer, and tin snips/clippers. Gerald Holmes attempted to remove the victim’s pinkie finger and a toe. During the assault, Randal Holmes repeatedly demanded that C.H. disclose where the duffle bag containing the money was located. Randal and Gerald Holmes left to retrieve the duffle bag while Phoenix held C.H. at gunpoint with instructions to shoot him if he got off the desk he had been sitting on.
Randal Holmes later drove C.H. to a rural residence near Edwards, Mo. As Randal Holmes drove them to the residence, Gerald Holmes continued to strike C.H. with fists and the butt of a firearm. When they arrived at the residence, C.H. was told to call his father and to tell him that he was okay, that he had taken a beating, that he would be home in a couple of days, and that he deserved what had happened.
Law enforcement officers were able to trace the telephone call and on Sept. 13, 2016, officers were able to locate C.H. and arrest the conspirators. Officers observed that C.H. had suffered multiple, visible injuries to his face, head, hands, and feet. Officers noted that C.H. had trouble walking, that his face was black and blue, as well as swollen with traces of dried blood. Upon receiving medical treatment, it was determined that C.H. had also suffered a fracture in his left hand.
Officers found a Jimenez Arms 9mm pistol in Randal Holmes’s vehicle and a Hi-Point 9mm pistol in the residence where C.H. had been held. Officers also found an FN Herstal .40-caliber pistol, a Remington .270-caliber rifle, an RG .22-caliber revolver, a Ruger .22-caliber rifle, a Mossberg .20-gauge shotgun, 36.4 grams of marijuana, and drug paraphernalia in another residence.
Gerald Holmes and Phoenix are the final defendants to plead guilty and be sentenced in this case. Randal Holmes was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison without parole. Borrusch was sentenced to 3 years and 10 months in federal prison without parole. Jeremy R. Bond, 40, of Independence, was sentenced to two years and six months in federal prison without parole.
This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Brad K. Kavanaugh. It was investigated by the Independence, Mo., Police Department, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Benton County, Mo., Sheriff’s Department, the Missouri State Highway Patrol, and the FBI.