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Dhanak Murders in USA

Main suspect - Murtaza                     Victims: Jayprakash and Karishma Dhanak


Dhanak Murders : Justice for the Dhanak Family

Iftekhar Murtaza given death sentence. Vitaliy Krasnoperov gets life

SANTA ANA (USA)  – A man convicted of helping his best friend conspire to murder Dhanak family was sentenced Monday, 28 Nov 2016 to 25 years to life in prison.

The sentencing brings to an end the years-long legal saga following the high-profile killings in 2007 of Jayprakash and Karishma Dhanak, which Orange County District Attorneys Office officials have described as among the most brutal murders in the county’s history.

Vitaliy Krasnoperov agreed to give up his right to appeal the conspiracy conviction in return for the prosecutor dropping two murder charges and an attempted murder charge.

On May 21, 2007, Jayprakash Dhanak, his daughter, Karishma, and his wife, Leela, were attacked at their Anaheim Hills home as they returned home. Jayprakash and Karishma Dhanak were abducted, their house was set on fire and Leela Dhanak was left to die with a slashed neck.

Iftekhar Murtaza, Krasnoperov’s friend and the man convicted of carrying out the killings, is on death row after being found guilty of murder and attempted murder. Charles Anthony Murphy Jr., who aided Murtaza with the assault and murders, was also convicted and sentenced to life without the possibility of parole.

For more reading click http://www.ocregister.com/articles/krasnoperov-736769-dhanak-murder.html


Dhanak murders: Killer Gets Life for Role in USA Double Murder of Jayprakash Dhanak, 56, and his daughter, Karishma Dhanak, 20

The D.A. is seeking the death penalty against Murtaza

A West Hollywood man convicted last year of conspiring to kill two Orange County residents received a life sentence this month.

Vitaliy Krasnoperov, 26, was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole after being convicted of special-circumstances murder under the theory that he was an "aider and abettor" for his role in planning the slayings with friend Iftekhar Murtaza, also 26, who faces a potential death penalty at his trial next year.

A third man, Charles Murphy Jr., 26, of Mission Hills, is currently standing trial before an Orange County jury, also charged with helping Mr. Murtaza carry out the scheme.

On May 21, 2007, Jayprakash Dhanak, 56, and his daughter, Karishma Dhanak, 20, were abducted from their Anaheim Hills home, taken to a park in Irvine, beaten and stabbed to death and set on fire.

According to Howard Grundy, prosecuting District Attorney, Mr. Murphy and Mr. Murtaza entered the Dhanak home, found Mr. Dhanak and beat, bound and gagged him, placing him in a bathroom until the arrival of the elder daughter Karishma and his wife Leela, who testified later that she was stabbed at the doorway.

The home was then doused in gasoline and set ablaze as their attackers tried to move the father, mother and daughter into a van parked outside.

Attracted by the flames, a bystander approached the house, disrupting the alleged activities and causing the alleged murderers to leave with only the father and daughter in the van, leaving Ms. Dhanak on the front lawn.

First responders found Leela Dhanak beaten, badly injured from a slashed throat and a blow to the head that left her comatose for weeks and unconscious in the yard while her house blazed.

According to prosecutors, Mr. Krasnoperov helped Mr. Murtaza plan the killings, which stemmed from the girlfriend’s break up with Mr. Murtaza.

A jury found Mr. Krasnoperov guilty of trying to find and hire a hit-man, forcing Mr. Murtaza to enlist Mr. Murphy’s help, say prosecutors.

Iftekhar Murtaza is alleged to have concocted the murders to get his ex-girlfriend’s parents and family out of the way after they allegedly forced a breakup due to personal and religious reasons.

Mr. Murtaza is a non-practicing Muslim; the Dhanaks are Hindu. The Dhanak family pressured their daughter to cut off the relationship because of the difference in religious practice.

Shayona Dhanak testified that she sought to escape a controlling relationship with a sometimes violent man, but when she told Mr. Murtaza about the split up, he expressed dismay and told her he would “convert religions for you. Don't do this."

Ms. Dhanak described Mr. Murtaza as often violent, possessive, manipulative and even “suffocating,” having “punched out” two of her male friends and showing a pattern of attending parties uninvited because he knew she would be there.

Ms. Dhanak testified that her parents not only disliked her boyfriend because of his religion, but because of the “bad vibes” associated with him – they felt he was dishonest.

When she persisted n her plan to break things off, Mr. Murtaza allegedly decided, with Mr. Krasnoperov's help, to kill the family in order to release their influence on her.

The jury found that he enlisted his best friend’s aid,  in part through a trail of instant messages which prosecutor Howard Gundy presented as evidence.

One conversation with Mr. Murtaza the morning after Mr. and Mrs. Dhanak denied him access to their daughter, at 3:21 am on March 29, 2007, stood at the center of the prosecution’s case.

Courtsey: Weho News

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Trial begin in 2007 deaths, beating of Dhanak family members

November 16, 2011

Two men are scheduled to stand trial Thursday for their alleged roles in a 2007 revenge-murder and attempted-murder conspiracy involving three members of devout Hindu Dhanak family.

Jaypraykashbhai Dhanak, 56, and his daughter, Karishma Dhanak, 20, were slain and set on fire. Mother Leelaben Dhanak, who was 54, was beaten and stabbed in the attack but survived, the Orange County district attorney's office said.

Prosecutors allege that Iftekhar Murtaza, 27, stormed the Dhanaks' home in May 2007 with Vitaliy Krasnoperov and Charles Anthony Murphy Jr., both 26. The bodies of Jayprakash and Karishma Dhanak were found on a bike trail in Mason Regional Park in Irvine.

 

Prosecutors said Murtaza planned the crime because he was angry over a breakup with family member Shayona Dhanak, who was 18. They had ended their two-year dating relationship weeks before the slayings, partly because her Hindu family had long frowned on her dating Murtaza, who is a Muslim, according to court records.

 

Krasnoperov and Murphy are scheduled to stand trial Thursday morning at Central Justice Center in Santa Ana. Both men face a maximum sentence of life in state prison without the possibility of parole.

 

The district attorney's office is seeking the death penalty against Murtaza, who is scheduled for a pretrial hearing Friday.

 

Leelaben Dhanak who survived 2007 attack testifies 2 men grabbed her, 1 slit her throat in Calif home

 

A mother testified Tuesday that two men grabbed her hands and one slit her throat in a 2007 attack authorities say was carried out by an angry ex-boyfriend hoping to reunite with the woman's teenage daughter.

 

Bearing a scar across her throat, Leela Dhanak told jurors in Orange County Superior Court that her 18-year-old daughter Shayona's ex-boyfriend Iftekhar Murtaza came toward her as she entered her Anaheim Hills home and tried to run to her husband who was bleeding by the sink.

 

"I was running toward him and two guys came from the formal living room area ... one, he ran a knife on my neck," Dhanak said at the trial of two men charged with helping Murtaza in the attack.

 

Moments later, one of the men hit her over the head and she fell, waking up four weeks later from a coma to learn her 56-year-old husband Jay and 20-year-old daughter Karishma had been killed and the family home torched.

 

Dhanak testified at the trial of Murtaza's friends Vitaliy Krasnoperov and Charles Murphy Jr. Each is facing two counts of murder, one count of attempted murder, and one count of conspiracy. If convicted, they each could face a maximum sentence of life in prison without parole.

 

Murtaza has pleaded not guilty and will be tried separately for the killings. If convicted, he could face the death penalty.

 

Prosecutors say Murtaza crafted the plan to kill the family after Shayona broke up with him in March 2007. In order to escape what had become a controlling relationship, she claimed her devout Hindu family opposed her dating a Muslim.

 

Prosecutors say Murtaza's best friend Krasnoperov tried to hire a hit man to help him but didn't appear to follow through. Murtaza got desperate and enlisted his elementary school friend Murphy to help him do the job himself, authorities said.

 

On May 21, 2007, authorities found Leela Dhanak battered and unconscious in a neighbor's yard and her house on fire. Her husband and daughter were missing.

 

Their stabbed and charred bodies were found the next morning in a brush fire in a park in Irvine.

 

In the courtroom Tuesday, Murphy's attorney Michael Molfetta asked Dhanak whether she could identify the other man who grabbed her that night as Murphy.

 

She shook her head and said she could not remember his face or whether he looked like the 26-year-old defendant sitting in the courtroom.

 

Molfetta previously said Murphy was outside the Dhanaks' house that night but did not go inside or know Murtaza planned to attack the family.

 

Krasnoperov's attorney Fred McBride did not question Dhanak and has declined to comment on the case. Krasnoperov stood trial on the charges earlier this year, but jurors could not reach a unanimous verdict.

 

During her testimony, Dhanak showed jurors her scars from the attack — the line across her throat and her burned hand and forearm. She said she also has five stab wounds in her stomach.

 

Dhanak recalled that she worked late that night at her attorney service business in Irvine while her husband took the car to be serviced and run an errand. She remembered pulling into the driveway of her house several hours later and sensing something was unusual when she saw all the lights were off, even though her husband always waited up for her to eat dinner and watch the news before going to bed.

Dhanak said there had been no answer when she called him from the office and while driving home at 10:30 p.m.

 

Prosecutor Howard Gundy asked how many times she thought she had dialed him in the four hours since he left her.

 

"So many times, I don't remember," she said, bursting into tears.

 

Courtesy: Associated Press

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Dhanak Murders

Courtsey: OCE Register News

 

Photo Album Click : Photo Gallery

 

SANTA ANA, USA – A college student whose father and sister were beaten, stabbed and set on fire in 2007 testified Tuesday that she had a contentious two-year, on-again, off-again romantic relationship with a West Hollywood man who was later accused of murdering her family after she broke up with him a final time in March 2007.

 

Shayona Dhanak, 22, told a Superior Court jury here that she dated Iftekhar Murtaza, now 25, despite her parent's objections, and even though he was often violent, possessive, manipulative and suffocating. She said Murtaza punched out two of her male friends, once threw her down on a bed, and would frequently show up at parties uninvited because he knew she would be there.

She was called to the witness stand in an 11th floor courtroom Tuesday to testify in the murder trial of Vitaliy Krasnoperov, 25, of West Hollywood, who was a close friend of Murtaza's and is charged with aiding and abetting Murtaza in a plot to kill members of Shayona Dhanak's family so she would return to him. Krasnoperov faces a potential life term in prison without the possibility of parole if convicted.

Murtaza, who was recently given a new court-appointed lawyer, will likely go on trial next year. He faces a possible death sentence if convicted.

 

Charles Anthony Murphy Jr., of Mission Hills, a third co-defendant, is scheduled for trial later this year for his suspected role in the May 22, 2007, murders of Jayprakash Dhanak, 56, and Karishma Dhanak, 20, and the attempted murder of Shayona's mother, Leela Dhanak, 53.

Deputy District Attorney Howard Gundy contends that Krasnoperov helped Murtaza plan the killings, and Murphy helped him carry them out.

 

Shayona Dhanak, then 18, was living in the dorms as a freshman at UC Irvine, when two intruders entered her family's home in Anaheim Hills around 11 p.m. on May 21, 2007. The victims were beaten and stabbed and the home set on fire before the men fled in a van with Jayprakash and Karishma Dhanak.

 

Anaheim police officers responding to the fire found Leela Dhanak unconscious on a neighbor's lawn. She recovered after three weeks in a coma and identified Murtaza as one the attackers.

 

Shayona Dhanak testified Tuesday that her parents did not like Murtaza in part because they were devout Hindus and he was a Muslim, but also because "they didn't like the vibes he gave out" and because they felt he didn't look like an honest man.

 

"They weren't happy" that she continued dating Murtaza, she testified, and they encouraged her to break up with him. She said she attempted to do so on two occasions, but Murtaza would cry, apologize and beg her to stay with him, and even offered to convert to Hinduism.

 

Dhanak said she broke up with Murtaza for good on March 28, 2007, as they sat in his car.

 

Gundy told the jury in his opening statements last week that within a day of that breakup, Murtaza in a late-night instant message told Krasnoperov that he wanted to kill Dhanak's parents.

 

Krasnoperov responded: "If you kill them now, it's gonna be obvious. You gotta wait," Gundy told jurors.

 

About a month later, Gundy said the planning continued with Krasnoperov asking for photos of Dhanak's family. Shayona Dhanak said she emailed several photos of her family to Murtaza in April 2007 at his request.

 

Defense attorney Brent Romney told the jury that Krasnoperov had no motive to help kill two people he didn't know and in the instant message conversations he was trying to defuse the anger and animosity Murtaza was feeling.

 

Krasnoperov had no contact with Murtaza in the week to 10 days leading up to the killings, Romney said, and never entered into an agreement with Murtaza to take lives

 

"He's a 21-year-old old goofball," Romney said, "He's not a violent person."

The trial resumes Wednesday.

 

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Judge found there was enough evidence to send the case to trial.

January 22, 2010

Leela Dhanak sat only a few feet away from the man she identified as her attacker as she recounted her memories of the May 21, 2007 attack in her Anaheim Hills home.

 

"(Iftekhar) Murtaza put a knife underneath my chin," she said as she moved her hand from left to right across her scarred throat during a preliminary hearing that wrapped up last week in Superior Court in Fullerton.

 

Outside the courtroom, Dhanak embraced her surviving daughter, Shayona Dhanak. Then she whispered to family and friends that she didn't want to be close to Murtaza.

 

Nearly three years after a father and daughter were set ablaze and the mother, Dhanak, had her throat slit, details surrounding one of Orange County's most notorious cases are surfacing.

 

Murtaza, 25, of Van Nuys, and his two friends – Vitaliy Krasnoperov, 24, of West Hollywood and Charles Anthony Murphy Jr., 25, of Mission Hills – remain behind bars.

 

The trio of suspects is accused of killing Jayprakash Dhanak, 56, and Karishma Dhanak, 20, the father and sister of Shayona Dhanak, Murtaza's former girlfriend.

 

After hearing testimony and reviewing 25 pieces of evidence, Judge Craig L. Griffin found there was enough evidence to send the case to trial.

 

Each defendant faces two counts of murder and one count of attempted murder. If convicted of all charges and special circumstances are found, each could get a life sentence without the possibility of parole. If he wins convictions, the prosecutor could seek death penalties.

 

The Past

The attacks occurred around 11 p.m. at the Dhanaks' home in the 6000 block of E. Camino Correr, a quiet Anaheim Hills neighborhood of two-story homes near a 10-acre park with a ball field and rimmed with trees.

 

Murtaza and an accomplice are accused of going to the Dhanak home and subduing Jayprakash Dhanak. The suspects then waited for Karishma Dhanak and Leela Dhanak, a prosecutor said, set the home on fire and forced the Dhanaks out of the home.

 

(Shayona Dhanak was at UC Irvine during the crimes and not harmed.)

 

While firefighters doused the house, a policeman discovered Leela Dhanak, unconscious and severely beaten, on a next-door neighbor's lawn.

 

About five hours later, authorities responded to a brush fire inside William R. Mason Park in Irvine.

 

They discover two badly burned bodies; it turned out they were of Jayprakash and Karishma Dhanak, an Orange Coast College student. The father and daughter had been strangled, bludgeoned, stabbed and burned, according to court records.

 

The bodies were a short drive from the UCI dorm where Shayona Dhanak lived. It is unclear why they ended up there, but the prosecutor said one of the suspects, Murphy, used to work nearby.

Timeline

 

The prosecutor, Senior Deputy District Attorney Howard Gundy, said a dispute over religion was at the core of the crime.

 

Shayona Dhanak's parents disapproved of her nearly three-year relationship with Murtaza, who was Muslim. Murtaza was angry with the Dhanaks, who are devout Hindus, for interfering with his relationship, according to court records. The couple broke up several weeks before the slayings.

 

Gundy said Murtaza wanted to kill Shayona Dhanak's family so she would have no one left but him.

 

The present

During the preliminary hearing, which intermittently stretched over two weeks, the prosecutor laid out pieces of his case with evidence and witnesses.

Leela Dhanak sat only a few feet away from the man she identified as her attacker as she recounted her memories of the May 21, 2007 attack in her Anaheim Hills home.

 

"(Iftekhar) Murtaza put a knife underneath my chin," she said as she moved her hand from left to right across her scarred throat during a preliminary hearing that wrapped up last week in Superior Court in Fullerton.

 

Outside the courtroom, Dhanak embraced her surviving daughter, Shayona Dhanak. Then she whispered to family and friends that she didn't want to be close to Murtaza.

 

Leela Dhanak told the court she remembers coming home around 10:30 p.m. and seeing her husband, Jayprakash Dhanak, with blood dripping down the side of his face as he stood near the kitchen sink: She ran toward him; two men grabbed her and Murtaza slit her throat, she said. She was then hit on the head and knocked unconscious.

 

While Leela Dhanak laid in a hospital bed for nearly two months, Anaheim police detectives worked to piece together one of the most complex and high-profile homicides in department history.

 

The future

On Feb. 3, the defendants are scheduled to be back in court for an arraignment hearing.

As for the trial itself, all of the lawyers expect it to begin next year.

 

Dhanak Murder Pre-Trial Begins in OC

Thursday, January 14, 2010 – Courtsey: West Hollywood News

 

Photos – click Murder Pre-trial

West Hollywood, California (January 14, 2010) - Vitaliy Krasnoperov, 24, of West Hollywood faced his accusers on the first day of a preliminary trial in which a judge will determine if enough evidence exists to try him and his two alleged co-conspirators in a May 21, 2007 attack that left two dead and one severely injured.

 

Prosecutors allege that Mr. Krasnoperov conspired with Iftekhar Murtaza, 25, of Van Nuys and Charles Anthony Murphy Jr., 25, of Mission Hills to kill Jayprakash Dhanak, 56, and Karishma Dhanak, 20, the father and sister of Mr. Murtaza's former girlfriend, Shayona Dhanak.

 

Tuesday in Orange County Superior Court in Fullerton, the family’s mother Leela Dhanak described how she was severely beaten but survived the attack.

 

It was she who pointed at Mr. Murtaza as the man who slit her throat that day, leaving her in the home.

 

The attackers allegedly then burned the family’s house down and started another fire to hide the other family members’ bodies on a nearby bike path.

 

Mr. Murtaza is said to have wanted to marry Ms. Dhanak.

 

Howard Gundy, the prosecutor, alleges that Mr. Murtaza conspired with Mr. Krasnoperov to kill the Dhanak family. Two months later, Murphy joined the conspiracy, Mr. Gundy alleges.

 

Mr. Krasnoperov grew to know Mr. Murtaza by working at his side. They worked together at a loan company Mr. Murtaza had opened in Van Nuys, Pacific Wholesale Lending Inc. (See theses links for the original reporting on the affair) WeHo Man Charged In Anaheim Murders and WeHo Man’s Arraignment Delayed

 

The hearing is expected to continue for several more days.


Mother Identifies man she says slit her throat

January 13, 2010. Courtesy: Orange Country News

 

SANTA ANA – An Anaheim Hills mother who survived a brutal attack that ended the lives of her husband and daughter appeared in court Tuesday to describe the events of that horrid day during a preliminary hearing.

 

The hearing – where a judge will decide if there's enough evidence to send a case to trial – was held at the North Justice Center in Fullerton and is expected to continue over the next several days.

 

The three defendants in the killings – Iftekhar Murtaza, 25, of Van Nuys, Vitaliy Krasnoperov, 24, of West Hollywood and Charles Anthony Murphy Jr., 25, of Mission Hills – are accused of killing Jayprakash Dhanak, 56, and Karishma Dhanak, 20, the father and sister of Murtaza's former girlfriend, Shayona Dhanak. Mother Leela Dhanak was severely beaten but survived.

 

The defendants – accused of committing two of the most gruesome killings in recent Orange County history – have each pleaded not guilty to two counts of murder and one count of attempted murder. If convicted of all charges and special circumstances, they could get life sentences without the possibility of parole. Prosecutors can also seek the death penalty.

 

Leela told the court she remembers coming home the evening of May, 21, 2007 and seeing her husband Jayprakash Dhanak with blood dripping down the side of his face as he stood near the kitchen sink.

 

As she ran toward him, she said two men grabbed her and one of them slit her throat. She was then hit on the head and knocked unconscious. The next time she opened her eyes, she was in a hospital bed.

 

Leela said Murtaza, who sat at the end of the counsel table wearing a dress shirt, a sweater and glasses, was the man who slit her throat.

 

"I recognized one guy. That was Murtaza. I knew him, he was my daughter's friend," Dhanak said, adding that she did not recognize the other man.

 

"Murtaza put a knife underneath my chin," she said as she moved her hand from left to right across her throat.

Leela said she spent two months in the hospital recovering from her injuries, including four stab wounds to her stomach and burns to her right hand.

 

Shayona's parents disapproved of her nearly three-year relationship with Murtaza, who is Muslim. Murtaza was "angry" with the Dhanaks, who are devout Hindus, for interfering with his relationship, according to prosecutors

 

Leela told the court she didn't like Murtaza because he was uneducated and because he was Muslim. "I didn't feel comfortable," she said.

Murtaza's attorney, Jack M. Earley, cross-examined Leela. She said she forbade Shayona to see Murtaza and considered hiring a private investigator to find out if she was still seeing him.

 

Prosecutors allege that in March 2007, Murtaza conspired with Krasnoperov to kill the Dhanak family. Two months later, Murphy joined the conspiracy, prosecutors allege.

 

Murtaza and Murphy are accused of going to the Dhanak home, where they subdued Jayprakash Dhanak. The two then waited for Leela and Karishma, set the home on fire and forced the Dhanaks out of the house.

 

A passerby noticed the commotion and smoke and called police.

 

Leela was found unconscious and severely beaten on a next-door neighbor's lawn.

 

Several hours later, authorities responding to a brush fire inside William R. Mason Park in Irvine discovered the badly burned bodies of Jayprakash and Karishma. They had been strangled, bludgeoned, burned and stabbed, according to court records.

While Murtaza insists he is innocent, Senior Deputy District Attorney Howard Gundy says the evidence will demonstrate otherwise.

 

"His motivation was to kill everyone in her immediate family so she would have no one but him and that he could keep her," Gundy said.

 

Murtaza's family, Krasnoperov's mother and Murphy's friends were in the courtroom gallery. The hearing will continue Wednesday afternoon.

 

Photos – click Murder Pre-trial

 Anaheim homicides Orange County, USA

 

Former Muslim boyfriend, Iftekhar Murtaza, aged 22 of the surviving daughter arrested in Phoenix airport carrying a one-way ticket to Bangladesh.

 

Iftekhar Murtaza of Los Angeles was taken into custody over the weekend on a fugitive warrant in Arizona after investigators learned he was planning to leave the United States.


Mother Leela Dhanak beaten unconscious, daughter Karishma Dhanak found dead with father Jayprakash  Dhanak

 

Leela Dhanak, 53, was found savagely beaten, lay unconscious on a neighbor's lawn, outside her burning Anaheim Hills home Monday night.

The remains of Karishma Dhanak, 20, were found in Irvine on a trail along with a charred body that wasn't immediately identified. Investigators said it could be the daughter's missing father, Jayprakash Dhanak.

 

In aftermath of brutal Anaheim attack, police seek clues from public, monitor mother and surviving daughter. Police are concerned for the safety of the surviving Dhanaks and are monitoring them 24 hours a day.

 

The charred bodies of her husband, Jayprakash Dhanak, 56, and daughter Karishma Dhanak, 20, were discovered Tuesday morning near a bike trail in Irvine – five hours after Leela Dhanak was found beaten outside the family's burning home at 6192 E. Camino Correr in Anaheim Hills.

 

Do you know the family and can help the police?

 

Anaheim police are asking anyone who saw something or knows anything about the crime or family to call the hot line at 714-765-1944.