By Aaron Blevins, 11/29/2012
A defendant was sentenced on Nov. 9 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, of Hollywood, was found guilty by a jury on 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. Two co-defendants, Charles Murphy and Iftekhar Murtaza, face similar charges.
The Dec. 15 trial was the second jury trial against Krasnoperov, as a previous jury was unable to reach a verdict on May 10, 2011.
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, 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 allegedly became 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.
At approximately 1:30 p.m. on May 21, 2007, Murtaza is accused of contacting and exchanging a series of text messages with his childhood friend, Murphy, and offering him $30,000 “for a job.”
That day, Murtaza met with Murphy, and allegedly murdered Jaypraykash and Karishma Dhanak while attempting to murder Leela Dhanak.
Officers from the Anaheim Police Department began investigating the case and indentified Murtaza as a suspect. He allegedly fled from Orange County to Phoenix. On May 25, 2007, he allegedly attempted to flee to India from Arizona with a one-way plane ticket and $11,000 in cash. He was arrested attempting to board a flight to India and was later extradited back to Orange County on June 13, 2007.