Previously Convicted White Supremacist Gang Member Sentenced to 56 Years to Life for Stabbing 22-year-old to Death

Case #16ZF0001 

Previously Convicted White Supremacist Gang Member Sentenced to 56 Years to Life for Stabbing 22-year-old to Death

Santa Ana, Calif. – A previously convicted white supremacist gang member was sentenced today to 56 years to life in state prison for stabbing a 22-year-old man to death in a Laguna Niguel bar in 2015.

Craig Matthew Tanber, 40, of Los Alamitos, was convicted in December 2019 of one felony count of second-degree murder for stabbing Shayan Mazroei several times after Tanber and girlfriend were told to leave The Original Patsy’s Irish Pub on September 8, 2015. Tanber was also convicted on one felony count of the personal use of a weapon.

Tanber’s girlfriend, Elizabeth Thornburg, exchanged words with Mazroei when the two went outside the bar to smoke. Witnesses testified hearing Thornburg hurl racial slurs at Mazroei, and video footage captured her spitting on Mazroei several times. Before walking back in the bar, Mazroei spit on Thornburg.

Thornburg chased Mazroei back into the bar.

After being asked to leave the bar by a bouncer, Thornburg and Tanber waited outside the bar. Video footage shows Tanber walking back into the bar after the bouncer left to deal with another issue inside the business. Tanber then punched Mazroei and stabbed him twice, first through the heart and then in the shoulder.

Mazroei stumbled back into the bar and collapsed. Mazroei was taken to Mission Hospital by paramedics where he later died.

Following the stabbing, Tanber fled the scene but was arrested three days later at a Westminster motel by the Orange County Sheriff’s Department.

Elizabeth Thornburg has been charged with one felony count of accessory after the fact.

“Shayan’s parents were robbed of their only son and a lifetime of memories,” said Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer, who attended many of the hearings in this case, including today’s sentencing. “Craig Tanber is a callous murderer who has repeatedly shown a complete disregard for human life. The sentence handed down today will keep him behind bars for his entire adult life and prevent a cold-blooded killer from harming other innocent people and destroying more lives.”

Tanber had been out of prison for just three months when he killed Mazroei.

In 2007, Tanber admitted to helping kill a 26-year-old man who was beaten to death with a claw hammer after stealing money from the former girlfriend of a white supremacist gang member. Tanber pled guilty to a lesser charge of voluntary manslaughter after his murder trial ended in a mistrial due to juror misconduct.

Tanber was prosecuted by Senior Deputy District Attorney Mark Birney of the Homicide Unit.