JURY RECOMMENDS DEATH PENALTY FOR MAN CONVICTED OF MURDERING EX-GIRLFRIEND’S FATHER AND SISTER AND ATTEMPTING TO KILL HER MOTHER

 

For Immediate Release
Case # 07NF2178

December 16, 2013

Susan Kang Schroeder
Chief of Staff
Office: 714-347-8408
Cell: 714-292-2718

Farrah Emami
Spokesperson
Office: 714-347-8405
Cell: 714-323-4486

 

JURY RECOMMENDS DEATH PENALTY FOR MAN CONVICTED OF MURDERING EX-GIRLFRIEND’S FATHER AND SISTER AND ATTEMPTING

TO KILL HER MOTHER

*Two co-defendants were convicted and one was sentenced in this case

 

SANTA ANA – A jury recommended the death penalty today for a man convicted of murdering his ex-girlfriend’s father and sister and attempting to kill her mother. The two murdered victims were set on fire and a third was left in a coma after suffering life-threatening injuries. Iftekhar Murtaza, 29, Van Nuys, was found guilty by the same jury Nov. 22, 2013, of two felony counts of murder, one felony count of attempted murder, one felony count of conspiracy to commit murder, the special circumstance sentencing enhancements for multiple murders and murder during the commission of kidnapping.  Murtaza is scheduled to be formally sentenced Jan. 10, 2014, at 1:30 p.m. in Department C-41, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.

 

Charles Anthony Murphy, Jr., 29, Mission Hills, was found guilty by a jury Dec. 12, 2012, of two felony counts of special circumstances murder, one felony count of attempted murder, and one felony count of conspiracy to commit murder. The sentencing enhancements for multiple murders, murder during the commission of kidnapping, and murder for financial gain were found true. Murphy was convicted in his third re-trial, as a previous jury was unable to reach a verdict and the second re-trial was declared a mistrial. He faces a maximum sentence of life in state prison without the possibility of parole at his sentencing Dec. 20, 2013, at 9:00 a.m., in Department C-41, Central Justice Center.

 

Co-defendant Vitaliy Krasnoperov, 28, Hollywood, was found guilty by a jury Dec. 15, 2011, of two felony counts of special circumstances murder, one felony count of attempted murder, and one felony count of conspiracy to commit murder. The sentencing enhancements for multiple murders, murder during the commission of a burglary, and murder during the commission of kidnapping were found true. This was the second jury trial against Krasnoperov, as a previous jury was unable to reach a verdict on May 10, 2011. He was sentenced Nov. 9, 2012, to life in state prison without the possibility of parole.

Background

In March 2007, 18-year-old Shayona Dhanak was a freshman at the University of California, Irvine, living in the campus dorms. Her father Jaypraykash Dhanak, 56, mother Leela Dhanak, 54, and sister Karishma Dhanak, 20, lived in the family home in Anaheim Hills.

 

On March 29, 2007, 18-year-old Shayona Dhanak ended a two-year dating relationship with Murtaza. The Dhanaks disapproved of the relationship partly because they were practicing Hindus and Murtaza was a non-practicing Muslim. Murtaza became angry about the break-up, believing that Shayona Dhanak’s parents were responsible because they did not approve of the relationship and had pressured her to end the rel