Tycoon's Brother Found Liable for Rebecca Zahau's Odd Death

Zahau's family awarded $5M in wrongful death suit over 'bizarre' 2011 hanging
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 4, 2018 7:02 PM CDT
Jurors in Rebecca Zahau Case: Tycoon's Brother Responsible
In this Friday, Sept. 2, 2011 file photo Dr. Jonathan Lucas, of the San Diego County Medical Examiner's Office, talks in front of a photo of Rebecca Zahau about his department's finding at a news conference in San Diego.   (AP Photo/Denis Poroy,File)

Rebecca Zahau was found hanged naked with her hands and feet bound in a California mansion in July 2011, and investigators concluded it was suicide. The 32-year-old's family alleged it was murder, and on Wednesday a San Diego jury decided someone else was responsible for her death. The Arizona Republic has the latest on Zahau's "bizarre" death, which occurred in the home of her boyfriend, pharmaceuticals tycoon Jonah Shacknai. The only other person on the property at the time was Shacknai's brother, Adam, and jurors in the civil trial found Adam Shacknai responsible for her death. This though there was no DNA or fingerprint evidence connecting Shacknai to Zahau's hanging, which occurred the day after Jonah Shacknai's 6-year-old son fell from a second-story landing in the home.

The boy died days later, and in their wrongful death suit, Zahau's family alleged Adam confronted Zahau over the boy's fall, reports Fox 5 San Diego. The family's attorney alleged Adam struck her in the head four times and sexually assaulted her before binding her hands and feet and sending her over a balcony; Keith Greer also alleged Adam was the one who wrote a message found on a bedroom door: "She saved him, can he save her." While the Republic notes civil verdicts are frequently appealed, jurors have awarded Zahau's family nearly $5.2 million in damages. Greer says the family will now have the resources to investigate what happened to Zahau, and that they plan to fight to get the case declassified as a suicide and relabeled as an open investigation, reports ABC News. (Read more Rebecca Zahau stories.)

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