Police: Failed gang recruitment pitch led to torture, Russian roulette

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ABOVE: James Ash (left) and Dominique McDowell (right)

INDIANAPOLIS (May 21, 2014) – An Indianapolis man says an attempt to recruit him into a gang resulted in torture that included a beating and a game of Russian roulette.

According to court documents, the 20-year-old man was held at gunpoint inside an east side home in the 600 block of North Grant Avenue on May 13. He told police he was held against his will, handcuffed, assaulted and burned with cigarettes by his captors.

James Ash, 43, and Dominique McDowell, 30, are charged with criminal confinement, criminal gang recruitment, intimidation and battery.

The men spoke to the victim about joining “GD” or Gangster Disciples, but he resisted their overtures. He said McDowell questioned him about “weed, coke and meth” that had apparently disappeared, according to the probable cause affidavit.

Unconvinced by the victim’s answer, he said Ash and McDowell made him strip down to his underwear and handcuffed him. He said they pummeled him with their fists, hitting him in the head and body. They also used a lit cigarette to burn his chest.

The men emptied all but one round from a handgun, the victim said.

“…they played Russian Roulette with me, they kept putting the gun at the back of my head and pulling the trigger,” the man told detectives.

They also poured water on him and “told him that when they ran out of water, they were going to kill him.”

After being tortured for hours, the victim said Ash and McDowell let him out of the handcuffs and told him to go to the bathroom to clean up. He escaped through an open window in the bathroom and asked a man to use his phone. He wasn’t wearing a shirt or shoes when police arrived to talk to him. Detectives described him as frightened when they approached.

Investigators found Ash and McDowell at the home where the victim said he’d been tortured; their description matched the provided by the victim.

When police searched the home, they found two guns and handcuffs. They also discovered the victim’s credit card and cell phone.

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