- Associated Press - Thursday, November 3, 2016

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (AP) - A former University of Rochester student testified Thursday about the torture he and a classmate endured while they were held hostage in a home last year.

Nicholas Kollias testified at the trial of four people charged with kidnapping them in December. He said he was shot in his legs and tortured along with Ani Okeke Ewo after they were lured to a house in Rochester by a woman who contacted one of them online and said she wanted to meet them.

Kollias, of Northbrook, Illinois, and Ewo, of Aurora, Illinois, were seniors at the time but are no longer enrolled at the university.

Kollias said the 40-hour-long ordeal began when masked assailants armed with guns, knives, bats and pipes burst into a room where he was sitting on a couch. He said he was shot in the leg once trying to escape and again while being beaten and tortured to reveal personal financial information.

“They put flammable liquids on us, saying they were going to light us on fire,” said Kollias, who’s 22 years old.

Authorities have said the students were abducted in a case of mistaken identity related to a drug robbery and were rescued by a police SWAT team after an extensive search.

Defendants Lydell Strickland, David Alcaraz-Ubiles, Inalia Rolldan and Ruth Lora face kidnapping charges. Strickland also is charged with gang assault, and Alcaraz-Ubiles is charged with assault and criminal possession of a weapon. Lora and Rolldan also face weapon possession charges. They have all denied the allegations against them.

Five other people have pleaded guilty for their roles in the abduction.

The trial is expected to last until the end of the month.

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