Lawsuit: Mansion Hanging Death Was Murder

Family alleges conspiracy to kill Rebecca Zahau

By Newser Editors and Wire Services

Posted Jul 15, 2013 3:26 AM CDT
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(Newser) – The family of a woman whose nude, bound body was found hanging at a California mansion has filed a $10 million lawsuit claiming she was murdered. The complaint filed in federal court by the family of 32-year-old Rebecca Zahau seeks general and punitive damages. Zahau was found hanged at a Coronado mansion belonging to her boyfriend, pharmaceuticals tycoon Jonah Shacknai in July 2011. Her death was ruled a suicide and authorities said she killed herself because she was distraught over a fatal fall that Shacknai's 6-year-old son suffered at the house two days earlier.

But Zahau's family always believed her death was suspicious. The lawsuit claims Shacknai's brother and ex-wife, Adam Shacknai and Dina Shacknai, and Dina Shacknai's twin sister, Nina Romano, were responsible for the woman's death. The lawsuit doesn't provide any specific evidence against the three, but alleges "defendants planned and prepared to batter and murder Rebecca and did thereafter brutally, and with malice aforethought, stalk, attack, choke, bound and hang" Zahau at the mansion belonging to her billionaire boyfriend. Jonah Shacknai was not named in the lawsuit.

This August 2008 photo shows Rebecca Zahau.
This August 2008 photo shows Rebecca Zahau.   (AP Photo/Horizon Eye Specialists & Lasik Center, Dwight Smith)
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