Man gets life in Anaheim Hills revenge murders

Fire investigators search for clues after a fire was set to an Anaheim Hills home where a man, woman and child were attacked.
(Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)

A 29-year-old Mission Hills man was sentenced to life in prison without parole Friday for his role in the kidnapping and murder of members of an Anaheim Hills family in 2007.

Charles Anthony Murphy Jr. was found guilty in December of two counts of murder with special circumstances, plus counts of attempted murder and conspiracy to commit murder.

Two other defendants in the case -- Iftekhar Murtaza, 29, of Van Nuys, and Vitaliy Krasnoperov, 28, of Hollywood -- have also been convicted in connection with the murders.


Murtaza blamed the parents of his 18-year-old girlfriend, Shayona Dhanak, when she broke up with him in March 2007. The parents, who disapproved of the relationship, were Hindus, and Murtaza was a non-practicing Muslim.

On May 21, 2007, Murtaza, Krasnoperov and Murphy attacked Dhanak’s father, mother and sister in their Anaheim Hills home, and set the house on fire. They took the father and sister to an Irvine bike trail, where they killed them and set their bodies on fire, authorities said.

The mother -- Leela Dhanak, 54 -- was found outside her home with stab wounds, burns and head trauma. She spent three weeks in a coma but survived.

In December, a jury recommended the death penalty for Murtaza, who will be sentenced in April. Krasnoperov is serving life without parole.


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Twitter: @LATChrisGoffard