|For Immediate Release
Case # 07NF2178
November 16, 2011
|Susan Kang Schroeder
Chief of Staff
TWO MEN FACE TRIAL FOR CONSPIRACY, REVENGE-MURDER AND ATTEMPTED MURDER OF FAMILY OF THIRD CO-DEFENDANT’S EX-GIRLFRIEND
*The murdered victims’ bodies and house were set on fire
SANTA ANA – Two men face trial tomorrow for their roles in a revenge-murder and attempted murder conspiracy targeting the family of a third 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, and Charles Anthony Murphy, Jr., 26, Mission Hills, are each charged with two felony counts of special circumstances murder, one felony count of attempted murder, and one felony count of conspiracy to commit murder. They face sentencing enhancements for multiple murders, murder during the commission of a burglary, and murder during the commission of kidnapping. Murphy also faces an additional sentencing enhancement for murder for financial gain. If convicted, Krasnoperov and Murphy face a maximum sentence of life in state prison without the possibility of parole. This is the second jury trial against Krasnoperov, as a previous jury was unable to reach a verdict on May 10, 2011. Opening statements are expected to begin tomorrow, Thursday, Nov. 17, 2011, at 8:30 a.m. in Department C-41, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.
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 Nov. 18, 2011, 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.