Charles Anthony Murphy Jr. Found Guilty in Third Re-Trial in Burned Bodies Murder Case
After hearing the jury's verdict, Orange County Superior Court Judge Thomas Goethals set Murphy's sentencing for Jan. 4.
Murtaza's has a pre-trial hearing scheduled Friday, with opening statements so far to begin a month to the day later.
Murphy, Vitaliy Krasnoperov, 26, of Hollywood, and--it is alleged--Murtaza, 28, of Van Nuys, conspired to murder the parents of Murtaza's ex-girlfriend because then-UC Irvine freshman Shayona Dhanak's devout Hindi family disapproved of her having dated the non-practicing Muslim.
After the break-up, Murtaza is accused of contacting his friend, Krasnoperov, online and telling him in an AOL Instant Messenger (IM) conversation that he wanted to kill Jaypraykash and Leela Dhanak. Murtaza is accused of having an IM discussion with Krasnoperov about ways to murder the victims, including burning their house down or using a hit man. Krasnoperov offered to contact someone whom he knew "used to do this type of work."
On April 26, 2007, Murtaza is accused of having another online IM conversation with Krasnoperov to discuss an upcoming meeting, arranged by Krasnoperov. They are said to have planned to meet to negotiate the murders of the Dhanaks. Krasnoperov instructed Murtaza to obtain a picture of the victims by sending Shayona Dhanak an IM asking for a photograph from her recent family trip to India.
Around 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." Murtaza is accused of telling Murphy that they should meet in person to discuss the details. Murphy iagreed to meet and participate in the murders of the Dhanaks that night.
The elder Dhanaks worked together in Irvine, but on May 21, 2007, the husband beat his wife to their Anaheim Hills home by several hours, having arranged to meet the Mrs. there later. Sometime after 6:30 p.m., Murphy and another invader entered the house and forcibly restrained Jaypraykash Dhanak before beating and repeatedly stabbing him. He was left in a bathroom while his attackers awaited the arrival of Leela Dhanak.
But 20-year-old Karishma Dhank arrived home first.