A onetime NCAA champion wrestler convicted of beating up one woman and sexually assaulting another at his Coachella Valley ranch is seeking release from jail pending appeal, prosecutors said Friday.
Wayne Eric Boyd, 74, of Sky Valley was sentenced to two years in state prison earlier this month, and remains in county custody at the John Benoit Detention Center in Indio pending transport to a state facility.
He is slated to return to the Larson Justice Center in Indio on May 7, where his lawyers are expected to argue he should be granted bail while they navigate the appeals process in a quest to overturn his conviction.
Boyd was convicted in August 2019 of criminal threats and assault with the intent to commit mayhem, rape, sodomy or oral copulation — both felonies — and three misdemeanor battery, assault and sexual battery counts for crimes committed between May and September 2016.
During the sentencing hearing at the Larson Justice Center in Indio on April 8, Riverside County Superior Court Judge Otis Sterling handed down a sentence on the lower spectrum of what the defendant could have received, citing Boyd’s age and lack of prior criminal history, among other factors. Sterling also struck Boyd’s misdemeanor battery conviction.
Boyd addressed the court, where he pleaded for bail pending the results of his appeal. He said he needed to remain home to care for his son, who suffers from mental health issues.
“I’ve lost everything over this case,” Boyd said, holding back tears. “I’ve lost my reputation. I’ve lost my company. I’ve lost hundreds of thousands of dollars in earned income.”
Court records indicate his lawyers formally began the appeals process about a week after sentencing.
The case dates back to Sept. 11, 2016, when sheriff’s deputies went to Eisenhower Health in Rancho Mirage on a report of a 25-year-old female assault victim. Boyd was arrested a day later and quickly made bail.
The woman, identified only as “Bree Doe,” told deputies Boyd slammed her to the ground when she and her friend were about to leave his ranch to go to a concert, according to court papers prepared by Deputy District Attorney Gypsy Yeager. The woman said he then punched her in the face and delivered repeated elbows to her head.
Bree said that her friend — identified only as “Vivienne Doe” — worked for Boyd and lived at his home, and that she was visiting her friend when she was attacked.
Bree also said that he mistreated Vivienne, who subsequently “described her time at the defendant’s property as five to five-and-one-half months of slavery, psychological, physical and emotional torture,” according to the prosecution’s court papers. “She said that he would subject her to many angry `speeches’ in where he tells her, `Nobody (expletive) with Wayne Boyd.’ He told her that he had killed a man before and had poked the eye out of another man and bit his nose off.”
Vivienne said she was frequently sexually assaulted and subjected to other forms of abuse by Boyd. One time, he repeatedly kicked her and fractured seven of her ribs, according to the prosecution. She also said she witnessed Boyd beat his son with a baseball bat.
She told deputies they met in Los Angeles, where Boyd promised her a job that paid $500 per week, but that he never paid her. He told her he was a movie producer and wanted her to play a role in his films, originally pitching the idea of starring in a show he produced called “About Town,” according to the prosecution.
Boyd’s LinkedIn page says he produces, directs and writes feature and documentary films, including “One More Shot,” “Champion of Champions” and “Blood, Guts, Glory, Wrestling.”
Boyd previously sought a new trial in the case, which Sterling denied. Boyd’s lawyer alleged that the prosecutor made inappropriate statements during closing arguments, and accused witnesses who testified in Boyd’s defense of delivering “scripted” statements.
“The implication … is that the evidence was doctored or manipulated in some way,” Boyd’s attorney alleged.
Boyd won three Virginia state wrestling championships in the 1960s in high school before enrolling at Temple University, where he won multiple championships and was inducted into the Temple University Hall of Fame, according to the web page of the Titan Mercury Wresting Club, which Boyd co-founded.
Following his trial, Titan Mercury Wrestling Club announced Boyd had resigned from the organization.
A statement from the wrestling club, attributed to Boyd, said he would be “vigorously pursuing” an appeal and that all the charges were “totally unfounded especially in light of the fact that the prosecution granted the victim immunity for perjury and theft of money from me.”
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