ST. LOUIS COUNTY • A man who was kidnapped by a former local fitness executive and others in 2016 has sued his kidnappers and two companies.
Ellis Athanas III was kidnapped from his home in Maplewood on Nov. 21, 2016, as part of a conspiracy to recover $15,000 and 24 pounds of marijuana that was stolen from a marijuana dealer working for former BAM Brands president and CEO Todd Beckman, according to Beckman’s guilty plea.
Athenas was held in a basement and then in a shipping container, beaten and had his life threatened, federal criminal court documents say.
Beckman’s attorney in the criminal case, Travis Noble, said he’d not yet seen the lawsuit and would not be representing Beckman in a civil case.
Athenas’ lawsuit, which was also filed on behalf of his parents, says he was beaten, shocked with a Taser and threatened while his parents were listening on the phone as a way to “encourage” them to pay ransom.
The lawsuit was filed Jan. 25 in St. Louis County Circuit Court against Beckman and co-defendants Caleb Laubinger, Blake Laubinger, Kerry Roades and Zachary Smith, as well as two companies the suit says are linked to Beckman.
Beckman, the Laubingers and Roades all pleaded guilty to kidnapping conspiracy charges. Prosecutors have agreed to ask for 20 years in prison