Vitaliy Krasnoperov Found Guilty at Second Revenge-Murder Trial; Jury Deadlocks on Co-Defendant Charles Anthony Murphy Jr.
The jury unanimously found Krasnoperov guilty of two felony counts of special circumstances murder, one felony count of attempted murder, and one felony count of conspiracy to commit murder, and the sentencing enhancements for multiple murders, murder during the commission of a burglary, and murder during the commission of kidnapping were found true.
However, the jury indicated they were at impasse with the similar counts against Murphy, with seven of the 12 favoring convicting the Mission Hills resident. Goethals then declared a mistrial. Deputy District Attorney Howard Gundy said after Murphy would be re-tried and, sure enough, a pre-trial hearing is already scheduled for January 13.
The reason for the earlier mistrial of Krasnoperov likely stemmed from his not having participated in the actual attacks but of having helped his childhood friend Murtaza in the planning and recruiting Murphy, who prosecutors say was to be paid $30,000 for allegedly helping Murtaza carry out the brutal killings. Evidence was presented at trial that Krasnoperov informed Murtaza via instant message that he would contact someone whom he knew "used to do this type of work."
"It seems a little iffy to put somebody in prison for chatting on a computer," juror Louis Kershner reportedly told the Orange County Register after the verdicts were read. "If you read the law and you look at the evidence, [Krasnoperov]'s guilty."
After being dropped off at the home around 10:30 p.m., Karishma was forcibly detained. When the mother arrived about 15 minutes later, she was immediately attacked and stabbed in the stomach. The home was then doused in gasoline and set ablaze as the attackers tried to move the father, mother and daughter into a van parked outside.
However, a witness approached the home because the fire had spread by then. The attackers only managed to drive off with Jaypraykash and Karishma Dhanak in the van. Leela Dhanak was left unconscious on her neighbor's lawn. The witness managed to flag down a passing patrol car, and an officer attended to the woman while the home was engulfed in flames and largely destroyed.
The next day, the bodies of Jaypraykash and Karishma Dhanak were found set ablaze on a bike trail at Mason Regional Park in Irvine, which is also near the college Murphy attended, Concordia University, Gundy later informed jurors. Leela spent a month in the hospital as a result of her wounds, including about three weeks in a coma.