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Trial has begun this week for an Van Nuys man accused of murdering an Orange County man and his daughter, as well as attempting to murder the Orange County man’s wife.
An Orange County prosecutor’s opening statement labels Iftekhar Murtaza as being a rejected boyfriend who turned into an infatuated killer when his girlfriend told him her parents wanted them to break up because he was Muslim and they were Hindus.
Deputy District Attorney Howard Gundy told jurors that after Shayona Dhanak broke up with Murtaza, he enlisted the help of friends to help kill her family, believing that by eliminating them, she would reunite with him.
Murtaza and one of the men he enlisted are accused of breaking into the family’s home in May 2007 and beating and stabbing the father. When his former girlfriend’s sister came home, she was detained, as was the mother. The burned bodies of the father, Jaypraykash Dhanak, 56, and sister, Karishma Dhanak, 20, were found later in a secluded area near UC Irvine. The autopsy showed that Jaypraykash Dhanak was stabbed 29 times, but died as a result of a crushing injury to the back of his skull, Gundy said. Karishma Dhanak had a large gash on her throat and bled to death, the prosecutor said.
The family’s Anaheim Hills mansion was set on fire, and the girlfriend’s mother was found on a neighboring lawn, beaten so severely that she was in a coma for weeks.
Murtaza was later arrested at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport with a ticket to Bangladesh via London and $11,500 cash in $100 bills. Prosecutors said they will seek the death penalty if Murtaza is convicted.

A criminal conviction is costly. You may serve time in prison, you may have your license revoked, your career and family life will be disrupted, and your record will be stained by such convictions. Our goal at Brower and Associates is to provide an aggressive and comprehensive defense to those accused of a crime throughout Orange County. If you or a loved one has been charged with a crime, contact Brower and Associates today. 

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