Man convicted of murder conspiracy in retrial of 2007 Anaheim Hills case

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A man has been found guilty of conspiracy to commit murder in the deaths of the father and sister of a friend's ex-girlfriend in Anaheim Hills in 2007.

A man has been found guilty of conspiracy to commit murder in the deaths of the father and sister of a friend's ex-girlfriend in Anaheim Hills in 2007.

Jurors said they were deadlocked Tuesday as they weighed two felony counts of special circumstances murder and one felony count of attempted murder against Vitaliy Krasnoperov.

Krasnoperov, 30, is a friend of Iftekhar Murtaza, the on-again, off-again boyfriend of the woman whose family was attacked.

Authorities say Murtaza killed the relatives of Shayona Dhanak, who was a college freshman in 2007, after she blamed her decision to end the couple's two-year relationship on her devout Hindu family's opposition to her dating a Muslim.

The family's home in Anaheim Hills was torched, and Dhanak's mother, Leela, was stabbed and left unconscious on a neighbor's lawn. The charred, stabbed bodies of Dhanak's father, Jay, and 20-year-old sister, Karishma, were found in a park the next day.

Prosecutor Howard Gundy says Krasnoperov was not present during the murders but he helped craft a plan.

"He attempted to contact a hitman for his friend, Iftekhar Murtaza, so that Murtaza could complete his plan of murdering the family," Gundy said.

Jurors found Krasnoperov guilty of conspiracy to commit murder but the jury deadlocked on convicting him of the actual murders.

"They were 11-1 on the murders, 11-1 for guilty. They did convict him of the conspiracy to commit murder -- that does carry with it a 25-to-life sentence," Gundy said.

Vitaliy Krasnoperov is seen in this undated file photo.


This was Krasnoperov's third trial. His first trial ended in a hung jury and his second trial ended in convictions, which were later overturned on appeal.

"He's disappointed in the result. I don't that think what he did rose to the level of being a conspiracy, that's exactly what I said to the jury," defense attorney Michael Garey said.

Leela, who came out of a coma after suffering life-threatening injuries, was in court Tuesday for the verdict.

"I wish they would have come to a better conclusion but they didn't, but I think I'm happy with what they said," she said.

Murtaza, the ex-boyfriend, was found guilty in 2013 of two counts of murder, one count of attempted murder and one count of conspiracy. He was sentenced to death last year.

Charles Murphy Jr. was sentenced to life without parole for helping in the attack.

Krasnoperov is being held without bail. He's expected to be sentenced on June 3.
Related Topics:
newsmurdertrialfirefire deathattempted murderAnaheim HillsOrange County
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