Muslim Man convicted in revenge slayings of ex-girlfriend’s father, sister

Iftekhar Murtaza

Iftekhar Murtaza (Allen J. Schaben, Los Angeles Times / November 20, 2013)

Van Nuys man is found guilty of killing his ex-girlfriend’s father and sister and setting their Anaheim Hills house ablaze

(SOURCE)  A 29-year-old Van Nuys man was convicted Friday of killing his ex-girlfriend’s father and sister and setting fire to their Anaheim Hills mansion in a night of violence that authorities said was driven by revenge.

Iftekhar Murtaza lowered his head several times as the verdicts were read and appeared to cry. Jurors will now decide whether he should be sentenced to death.

Murtaza was convicted of killing his ex-girlfriend’s father, Jayprakash Dhanak, 56, and sister, Karishma Dhanak, 20, in May 2007. Their burned bodies were found in a secluded area near UC Irvine.

The ex-girlfriend’s mother was found critically wounded on a neighbor’s lawn. She was in a coma for weeks, but has survived.

“We’re very pleased with the verdicts,” Deputy Dist. Atty. Howard Gundy said after the hearing.

Murtaza’s attorney declined to comment as he walked his client’s parents from the courthouse.

On the witness stand, the former girlfriend’s mother, Leela Dhanak, identified Murtaza as the man who slashed her throat and stomach with a knife.

Shayona Dhanak, the ex-girlfriend and only family member not at home during the attack, testified that her parents didn’t approve of her then-boyfriend. She said she decided to break up with him because he was overly possessive, but told him it was because her parents were devout Hindus and he was Muslim — an excuse she said she hoped would make the breakup easier.

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