California man convicted of murdering ex-girlfriend’s father and sister in alleged attempt to reunite

Yup. This should definitely do the trick! Wonder why he didn’t think of it sooner.

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Iftekhar Murtaza of  Los Angeles was found guilty of two counts of murder, one count of attempted  murder and one count of conspiracy on Friday. Prosecutors said the 29-year-old  killed his ex-girlfriend’s Hindu family because they disapproved of her dating a  Muslim.

MAY 26, 2007, PHOTO PROVIDED BY MARICOPA COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE

AP

Iftekhar Murtaza is seen after his arrest in 2007 for the murders. He was  additionally found guilty of attempted murder after slashing the throat of his  ex-girlfriend’s mother.

SANTA ANA, Calif. — A Southern California man was convicted Friday of the  murders of the father and sister of his ex-girlfriend and the attempted murder  of her mother in a fiery attack that prosecutors say was an ill-conceived  attempt to reunite the couple.

A jury found Iftekhar  Murtaza, 29, guilty of two counts of murder, one count of attempted murder  and one count of conspiracy.

The 12 jurors, who began deliberations a day earlier, found that there were  special circumstances of multiple murders, and murder during a kidnapping in the  case of one victim.

The panel decided special circumstance allegations of murder during a  kidnapping for another victim, and murder during a burglary, were not true.

Iftekhar Murtaza, 29, is found guilty of the murder of his estranged girlfriend's father Jayprakash Dhanak, 56, and her oldest sister Karishma, 20, in an attack on May 21, 2007.

Kevin Sullivan/AP

Iftekhar Murtaza, 29, is found guilty  of the murder of his estranged girlfriend’s father Jayprakash Dhanak, 56, and  her oldest sister Karishma, 20, in an attack on May 21, 2007.

Murtaza shook his head as the jurors left the room after the verdicts were  read. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.

“We’re very pleased with the verdicts,” said prosecutor Howard Gundy, adding  he was ready to move on to the trial’s penalty phase, which is set to begin Dec.  2. He declined to comment further on the verdicts. Defense attorney Doug Myers  declined to comment.

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.

Murtaza, left, listens to his guilty verdicts between defense attorneys Julie Swain, center, and Doug Myers, right, in Orange County Superior Court on Friday.

Kevin Sullivan/AP

Murtaza, left, listens to his guilty  verdicts between defense attorneys Julie Swain, center, and Doug Myers, right,  in Orange County Superior Court on Friday.

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.

Two of Murtaza’s friends were previously convicted of the killings.

Vitaliy Krasnoperov was sentenced to life in prison, and Charles Murphy Jr.  is scheduled to be sentenced in December.

Two of Murtaza’s friends were previously convicted of the killings.

Kevin Sullivan/AP

Two of Murtaza’s friends were  previously convicted of the killings.

Prosecutors say an obsessed Murtaza wanted to kill the family to eliminate  them as an obstacle to the relationship and drive Shayona Dhanak back to his  arms.

In an online chat with Krasnoperov, Murtaza first planned to hire a hit man  but carried out the killings himself with Murphy’s help when Dhanak told him she  planned to go out on a date with someone else, Gundy said during the trial.

Authorities were dispatched to the inferno at the family’s home in May  2007.

Dhanak’s father and sister were missing until the next morning, when their  bodies were found burning in a park 2 miles from her dorm room at University of  California, Irvine.

Murtaza was interviewed by police several days later and then arrested at a  Phoenix airport with a ticket to his native Bangladesh and more than $11,000 in  cash.

During the trial, Murtaza testified that he told many people he wanted to  kill the Dhanaks because he was distraught over the breakup, but he said he  didn’t mean it literally.

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/man-convicted-killing-ex-girlfriend-dad-sister-runite-couple-article-1.1526443#ixzz2lU80JFdx

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