2018 Top Story Rebecca Zahau wrongful death case evidence review


first_img Sasha Foo, December 27, 2018 Categories: Local San Diego News FacebookTwitter Posted: December 27, 2018 Sasha Foo center_img Updated: 10:58 PM 00:00 00:00 spaceplay / pause qunload | stop ffullscreenshift + ←→slower / faster ↑↓volume mmute ←→seek  . seek to previous 12… 6 seek to 10%, 20% … 60% XColor SettingsAaAaAaAaTextBackgroundOpacity SettingsTextOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundSemi-TransparentOpaqueTransparentFont SettingsSize||TypeSerif MonospaceSerifSans Serif MonospaceSans SerifCasualCursiveSmallCapsResetSave SettingsSAN DIEGO (KUSI)- From the moment that 32 year old Rebecca Zahau was found nude, bound and gagged and hanging from a balcony at her millionaire boyfriend’s Coronado mansion in 2011, there were questions about how she died.On her death certificate, the manner of death is listed as suicide. But seven years later, in a San Diego courtroom last February, the family of Rebecca Zahau set out to prove she was murdered.The defendant in the case was 54 year old Adam Shacknai, the younger brother of Rebecca’s boyfriend. Keith Greer, the attorney for the Zahau family argued that Adam Shacknai killed Rebecca after some type of confrontation in the mansion and staged her death to look like a suicide.Each side brought in their own expert witnesses with conflicting interpretations of the evidence; the knots in the rope around her hands, the mysterious message painted on the door and the injuries to Rebecca’s body.Of all the evidence presented to the jury, attorney Keith Greer believed a knife handle covered in Rebecca’s menstrual blood convinced the jury that Rebecca was sexually assaulted.However, Adam Shacknai’s defense attorney said in court that there was no evidence, no DNA and no telltale fingerprints to show that Adam Shacknai had any sort of involvement.One of the trial’s most dramatic moments came during closing arguments, when Greer displayed a life sized mannequin and played a recording of Adam Shacknai’s call to 911 that morning. The family’s attorney argued that Shacknai did not act like someone who had just discovered a suicide.It took less than four hours for the jury to come back with a verdict: Adam Shacknai was responsible for the death of Rebecca Zahau. The jury in the civil trial ordered Shacknai, a tugboat captain, to pay $5 million to the Zahau family for the loss of Rebecca’s companionship.It was a verdict that surprised Sheriff Bill Gore. “I have to say I was shocked when they came back and found Adam Shacknai somehow responsible,” Gore said.Although the trial was over, the Zahau family was not ready to accept the sheriff’s conclusion that Rebecca died by suicide. The family asked for a second review of the evidence, which the sheriff agreed to conduct with a new set of investigators. The results of the review were announced in December. The review resulted in the same finding as the initial assessment seven years ago.“There’s no doubt in my mind that Rebecca Zahau committed suicide,” Gore said.While the sheriff acknowledged there will always be those with questions and doubts, attorney Keith Greer said the evidence clearly showed that Zahau’s death was not a suicide.“The evidence here shows that the sheriff made an initial decision that is clearly wrong and stuck by that decision later. The only way that happens in my mind is one of two things or a combination of two things- one is incompetence and two is corruption,” Greer said.Gore said he did not think the attorney was able to argue the facts of the case “and so he comes out with ‘There’s some sort of conspiracy or corruption.’ Yeah, I take that personally. I think it’s offensive and inappropriate.”The family of Rebecca Zahau has not collected any money to date. Greer said the civil lawsuit was not about money, but an effort to get the Sheriff’s Department to re-open an investigation.In the coming year, Greer plans to petition the Medical Examiner to change his finding of suicide. The legal team for Adam Shacknai also has plans for 2019. In January, his attorneys will return to court in San Diego to ask a judge to reverse the jury’s verdict and grant Shacknai a new trial. 2018 Top Story: Rebecca Zahau wrongful death case, evidence reviewlast_img

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