MAN FACES TRIAL FOR CONSPIRACY REVENGE-MURDER AND ATTEMPTED MURDER OF FAMILY, WHOSE BODIES WERE BURNED AND HOUSE SET ON FIRE


Tony Rackauckas, District Attorney
401 Civic Center Drive West
Santa Ana, CA 92701

For Immediate Release
Case # 07NF2178






March 20, 2012

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

MAN FACES TRIAL FOR CONSPIRACY REVENGE-MURDER AND ATTEMPTED MURDER OF FAMILY, WHOSE BODIES WERE BURNED AND HOUSE SET ON FIRE

*One co-defendant has been convicted and another in awaiting trial in this case

 

SANTA ANA – A co-conspirator faces trial tomorrow for the revenge-murder and attempted murder of 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., 27, Mission Hills, is charged with 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 a burglary, murder during the commission of kidnapping, and murder for financial gain. He faces a maximum sentence of life in state prison without the possibility of parole if convicted.

 

This will be the second jury trial against Murphy, as a previous jury was unable to reach a unanimous verdict on Dec. 15, 2011. Opening statements are expected to begin tomorrow, Wednesday, March 21, 2012, at 9:15 a.m. in Department C-41, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.

 

Co-defendant Vitaliy Krasnoperov, 26, 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. It was the second jury trial against Krasnoperov, as a previous jury was unable to reach a verdict on May 10, 2011. Krasnoperov is expected to be sentenced to life in state prison without the possibility of parole on May 25, 2012, in Department C-41.

 

Co-defendant Iftekhar Murtaza, 27, Van Nuys, faces the same charges and enhancements as Murphy. The Orange County District Attorney is seeking the death penalty against Murtaza, who is scheduled for a pre-trial hearing June 22, 2012, in Department C-41.

 

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 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.