Indicted Beauty Queen Made Poor Choices in Men, Lawyer Says

A former beauty queen accused of kidnapping an ex-boyfriend has made poor choices in men, a lawyer who will be helping represent her said Monday.

"If she's guilty of anything, it's making poor choices in men," said attorney Marc Beginin. Beginin practices law outside Arizona and said he will have to receive court approval to act as co-counsel for 25-year-old Kumari Fulbright.

Fulbright, who won the Miss Pima County title in 2005 and was selected Miss Desert Sun in 2006, and who competed for Miss Arizona both years, was indicted last month.

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Authorities have accused Fulbright of kidnapping, holding and torturing an ex-boyfriend at gunpoint and knifepoint with the help of three other men, including an earlier boyfriend. She is now free on $50,000 bail.

On Monday, she and Beginin met with officials at the University of Arizona, where Fulbright is a second-year law student. Fulbright has been placed on interim suspension by the dean of students' office, unable to come to campus, spokesman Johnny Cruz said.

Cruz said the suspension has no end-date, but that her status could potentially change between now and the resumption of classes Jan. 14.

The dean's office can pursue sanctions against a student for off-campus conduct, but such sanctions are imposed after an investigation, he added.

Beginin said Fulbright wants to further her legal education, "and she's making every effort to continue with that and to put the events of December in perspective."

"Law school is the important thing to her, and she would not do anything to jeopardize that," Beginin said.

Fulbright and Larry Hammond were indicted by a Pima County grand jury on charges of kidnapping, aggravated robbery, armed robbery and two counts of aggravated assault.

Tucson police also issued arrest warrants in December for Fulbright's previous boyfriend, Robert Ergonis, 44, and his brother, Michael Ergonis, 46, also charging them with kidnapping, armed robbery and aggravated assault.

According to a Tucson police report released in response to an open records request, the alleged victim told an investigator that Fulbright accused him of stealing her jewelry and said that she physically abused him — "bit him on his left ear lobe, slapped him in the face with plastic bags that had items in them, bit him on the webbing of his hand, stuck a butcher knife into his ear and talked about shoving it into his brain."

A supplementary narrative from another detective said that after Fulbright was advised that she was going to be arrested based on the information provided, "she blurted out" that the victim had taken her jewelry and was trying to shoot her.

The victim also told detectives that they had dated about four months and had recently broken up.

The report said the victim admitted that he sold jewelry at pawnshops in Mesa and Tucson at Fulbright's request.

Elsewhere in the report, the detective said that en route from one location to another, the Ergonis brothers allegedly talked about missing jewelry and that "the victim was telling them that he owed $16,000 to another subject and that he needed the money."