Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Washington couple sentenced for torturing teenage charge

Jordan Gunn

Jordan Gunn’s mother thought that his brother would be a good influence on the young man. In 2012 she sent Jordan, now 13, to live with Navy man Brandon Gunn, 27, and his wife, Viviana Gunn, 34. That meant moving Jordan away from the rest of the family in Atlanta, to Silverdale, Washington. Brandon and Viviana, the only people Jordan knew in that small town west of Seattle, became his legal guardians.

The couple proceeded to inflict ungodly horrors on the boy. Among their assaults. according to trial documents:

- The Gunns duct-taped Jordan to a chair in the garage, then beat him with a bat and a metal bar until he passed out.

- They stripped him naked and tied him up in a dog kennel, without food or water. (He escaped by chewing through his restraints.)

- After hanging him from a rafter in the garage, they beat him like a pinata and cut him with a white-hot knife, then Viviana sprinkled rubbing alcohol on the open wounds.

- His brother put staples through Jordan’s hands, and bludgeoned his feet with a hammer.

- Viviana squeezed the boy’s hand in a bench vise, then drove a nail all the way through his palm.

Viviana Gunn

- They locked him in the basement for four days, giving him just a bottle of water and some sort of sedative pill each day. When he snuck out in search of food, the couple beat him again.

Jordan escaped his final round of restraint-and-beating in August 2013. He was able to loosen the duct tape from his mouth, then chew through the tape that bound his hands and kick down the basement door and flee. Police found him passed out on a bus bench in nearby Bremerton two weeks later. The barely-teenage boy was covered in open and even infected wounds; he told police these injuries were the result of his guardians punishing him with episodes of violence they referred to as “sessions” when he misbehaved. It started in June when they accused him of stealing, and beat him with an electrical cord.

Police brought him to Harrison Memorial Hospital. The injuries prompted the authorities to turn the case over to the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office.

Meanwhile, his mother and aunts were growing suspicious because they weren’t hearing from Jordan. On August 22, when Brandon and Viviana refused to let them speak to the boy, the Atlanta relatives reported him missing. The couple put up flyers listing the boy as missing, and Viviana Gunn posted a prayer for him on Facebook.

Detectives searched the Gunn house and found plenty to support Jordan’s story. There was blood on and around the bench vise, and on the boy’s bedroom door, and on a baseball bat. An electric cord matched his whipping injuries. The basement door had been kicked open from the inside.

Viviana and Brandon Gunn

Deputies arrested the Gunns on August 24, 2013.

During his initial questioning, Brandon Gunn admitted to no more than “whooping” his brother with his belt—only on his butt, and no more than three times. In September he and his wife pleaded guilty to unlawful imprisonment, kidnapping in the first degree and four counts of second-degree assault.

Deputy Prosecutor Cami Lewis says that they later tried to change their pleas under new lawyers–but that the lawyers advised them not to do so.

Viviana Gunn was sentenced January 6, 2014, to 31 years. Her husband will likely get 30 years when he’s sentenced January 17, slightly less than Viviana because she had a prior felony conviction.

Viviana’s children from a previous relationship do not seem to have been harmed, though they visited the family during Jordan’s stay.

Jordan Gunn has returned to Atlanta to live with his mother.

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