For Immediate Release
Susan Kang Schroeder
MAN CONVICTED OF CONSPIRACY IN REVENGE-MURDER AND ATTEMPTED MURDER OF FAMILY WHOSE BODIES WERE BURNED
AND HOUSE SET ON FIRE
*A co-defendant was sentenced to life in prison without parole and a third co-defendant is pending trial
SANTA ANA – A man was convicted today for his role in a revenge-murder and attempted murder conspiracy targeting the family of a co-defendant’s ex-girlfriend. Two victims were murdered and set on fire and a third was left in a coma after suffering life-threatening injuries. Charles Anthony Murphy, Jr., 28, Mission Hills, was found guilty by a jury of two felony counts of special circumstances murder, one felony count of attempted murder, and one felony count of conspiracy to commit murder. He faces sentencing enhancements for multiple murders, murder during the commission of kidnapping, and murder for financial gain. This was Murphy’s 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 Jan. 4, 2013, at 9:00 a.m., in Department C-41, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.
Co-defendant Vitaliy Krasnoperov, 27, Hollywood, was found guilty by a jury in a re-trial 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. He was sentenced Nov. 9, 2012, to life in state prison without the possibility of parole.
Co-defendant Iftekhar Murtaza, 28, Van Nuys, faces the same charges and enhancements as Murphy with an additional sentencing enhancement for murder during the commission of a burglary. The Orange County District Attorney is seeking the death penalty against Murtaza, who is scheduled for a pre-trial hearing Dec. 14, 2012, in Department C-41.
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 is accused of becoming 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 relationship.
Circumstances of the Conspiracy