|For Immediate Release
Case # 07NF2178
November 9, 2012
|Susan Kang Schroeder
Chief of Staff
MAN SENTENCED TO LIFE IN PRISON WITHOUT PAROLE FOR CONSPIRACY IN REVENGE-MURDER AND ATTEMPTED MURDER OF FAMILY WHOSE BODIES WERE BURNED AND HOUSE SET ON FIRE
*A co-defendant is currently on trial and a third co-defendant is pending trial
SANTA ANA – A man was sentenced today to life in state prison without the possibility of parole 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. 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. This was the second jury trial against Krasnoperov, as a previous jury was unable to reach a verdict on May 10, 2011.
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. Murphy faces a maximum sentence of life in state prison without the possibility of parole if convicted and is currently facing his third re-trial as a previous jury was unable to reach a verdict and the second re-trial was declared a mistrial.
Co-defendant Iftekhar Murtaza, 28, 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 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
After the break-up, Murtaza is accused of contacting his friend, Krasnoperov, online and telling him in an AOL Instant Messenger (IM) conversation that he wanted to kill Jaypraykash and Leela Dhanak. Murtaza is accused of having an IM discussion with Krasnoperov about ways to murder the victims, including burning their house down or using a hit man. Krasnoperov offered to contact someone whom he knew “used to do this type of work.”