Twenty-three-year-old Craig Elias, a former national honor student and standout high school football player, reportedly operated a very profitable drug-dealing business out of a house he rented with twenty-oneyear-old Jared Henkel in the Mt. Washington area of Pittsburgh. In this rowhouse, to protect the proceeds of their illegal business, the two men kept several safes that allegedly contained not only drugs but also thousands of dollars in cash. However, upon returning home one evening in March 2002, they discovered that someone had broken into their home and stolen the safes. After checking around to determine who might have committed the burglary, Elias and Henkel then set out to get their stolen property back. With the help of a friend, twenty-one-year-old Jared Lischner, Elias and Henkel abducted two men whom they had worked with several times selling drugs and whom they thought were the most likely ones to have committed the burglary: twenty-two-year-old Anthony Brownlee and nineteen-year-old Andrew Jones.
After six hours of beating and torturing Brownlee and Jones, the three men holding them captive decided to free Brownlee on his promise to bring them at least $3,000 of his own drug money and to never tell anyone about what had happened to Jones and him. Brownlee, seeing the chance to escape with his life, immediately agreed to the terms. The three men figured that Brownlee, being a drug dealer, couldn't go to the police. They