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Rebecca Zahau: Murder or Suicide? Coronado, CA

Discussion in 'Crimes' started by SoSueMe, Apr 17, 2015.


What caused Rebecca's death?

  1. Murder

    17 vote(s)
  2. Suicide

    2 vote(s)
  3. Accident then staged

    1 vote(s)
  4. Other

    0 vote(s)
  1. patsella

    patsella Bronze Member

    After watching the reenactments I still believe she died at the hands of another. I just don't see someone going to
    such an elaborate ritual to commit suicide.
    Voted, thanks for the poll. :)
  2. Lily

    Lily Bronze Member

    On the flip side, I have read about some intensely strange and elaborate suicides.. like, stuff that you simply could not believe if it wasn't based on police evidence, kind of thing. But most of those cases, the people were obviously and severely troubled to begin with, and/or had an obvious agenda - somebody they blamed for their woes, with enough hatred to frame them up for murder, or the like. Nobody like Rebecca, who had intense stress... but no history of suicide attempts, no chronic, sever depression -- and nobody to blame, certainly not Adam who wasn't even there when Max was hurt.

    But it's Adam's behaviour and several other factors outside of Rebecca herself, that have tipped me toward this being a highly suspicious death.
  3. Cousin Dupree

    Cousin Dupree Platinum Member

    This case is so bizarre. How the cops can say, with a straight face, that this was suicide is beyond me. I hope the family wins this so the cops might actually do some work on it. Ashley Banfield is discussing this case right now. Evidently the knots used in her bindings were nautical knots. This would make it harder for her to tie herself up. Adam Shacknai has experience with nautical knots.

    Also, the biggest question I have is this. If she wanted to commit suicide why would she bother tying herself up?

    Also, why does the note on the door, supposedly written by Rebecca, refer to her in the third person?

    They're saying a handwriting expert testified today that the writing is similar to Adam Shacknai's writing.


    Rebecca Zahau wrongful death trial begins seven years after body was found hanging from balcony

    The family of a woman whose body was found hanging at a California mansion nearly seven years ago is still looking for justice, even though authorities long ago ruled her death a suicide.

    The wrongful death civil trial in connection with Rebecca Zahau's death begins this week in San Diego with jury selection.

    "I think there are too many unanswered questions in this case," Zahau family lawyer Keith Greer told 10 News.

    The lawsuit blames Adam Shacknai, the brother of Zahau's billionaire boyfriend Jonah Shacknai, for her death. Adam Shacknai was believed to be in the home at the time....
  4. guess who

    guess who Bronze Member

    A young, straight (presumably??) man, after cutting her down and supposedly doing CPR on a lovely lady and not remembering if she was naked or not, pretty much seals it for me. Yeah, right!
  5. Lily

    Lily Bronze Member

    Why not simply tie the rope to the rail? She ostensibly had several knives there, to cut the rope. Why leave it that long (risking it being TOO long, as how on earth could she measure the correc length?) -- tie it to a bed and ---hop-- all the way across the room, then somehow jump off leaving only a 3 inch gap in the dust, at most?

    I thought it was interesting to watch, in his polygraph interview, exactly where he got evasive and forgetful, and where he felt he had to use expletives. Lots and lots of stress around the bindings..

    Lots of attention paid by police about how loose her hand bindings were -- even though AS ---told them-- he moved the ropes to 'check her pulse' (as if he thought she even had one... and as I said above, there is NO way she would have looked even vaguely alive at that point). "Are you ALIVE?!" said very loudly, so the 911 operator could hear -- yeah sure, mate, as if there was a doubt exactly how 'alive' she was.

    And I don't think the footprints on the balcony count for much.. There's no way of telling when those prints were made, and there's a couple of feasible scenarios in which AS would never have to step off the carpet, as the balcony is only a couple of feet wide.

    All the same, I think there's probably not strong enough evidence to put anyone in prison for murder, and the verdict's gonna be 'not guilty' or w/e it is in civil cases.

    I can't believe the police didn't check DNA on ALL of the rope, ALL of her body.. though AS gave an elaborate excuse for his own DNA being on her, and the rope at strategic points. So "ONLY HER DNA FOUND" sounds conclusive -- but only by omission.. because the tests for other DNA don't exist.
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2018
  6. SheWhoMustNotBeNamed

    SheWhoMustNotBeNamed Administrator Staff Member

    Pathologist testifies that Rebecca Zahau’s death was a homicide

    A nationally renowned forensic pathologist testified Monday in the wrongful death lawsuit brought by the family of Rebecca Zahau.

    Dr. Cyril Wecht performed a second autopsy on Zahau’s body, about three months after an initial autopsy by the San Diego County Medical Examiner’s office.

    Wecht said that in his opinion, the young woman’s death was not a suicide.


    Well-known pathologist testifies in trial that Zahau was strangled

    Several months after Rebecca Zahau’s body was found bound and hanging at a Coronado mansion, a well-known forensic pathologist went on the “Dr. Phil” show to announce that while he couldn’t say with certainty that the woman had been killed, his findings during a second autopsy raised serious questions about the death.

    That same pathologist, Dr. Cyril Wecht, was much more definitive while testifying in Zahau’s wrongful death lawsuit on Monday.

    “In my opinion, Rebecca Zahau’s death was a homicide,” he said in San Diego Superior Court. “She was manually strangled and it was set up to look like a suicidal hanging.”

    Wecht discussed several of his autopsy findings to support that conclusion.

    The first was the presence of four hemorrhages on the right side of Zahau’s scalp. Wecht determined the injuries were caused by blunt force trauma suggesting Zahau may have been bludgeoned with a hard, possibly rounded object that could have led to her losing consciousness before her death.

    Dr. Jonathan Lucas, the San Diego County deputy medical examiner who performed the initial autopsy, had previously called those wounds “relatively minor,” adding that they may have been caused by her head striking the building after she fell from the balcony.

    Wecht also said that a fractured band of cartilage in Zahau’s neck wouldn’t have been injured in a hanging death, but it could have been during strangulation. There were other injuries to the muscles and skin of Zahau’s neck that also suggested someone used their hands to strangle her, he said.

    The pathologist also questioned how her neck remained unbroken, despite falling 9 feet from the balcony.

    “If she had simply gone over the balcony railing with the body hurtling down, the force that would have been generated would have resulted in a… fracture,” Wecht said.

    There were several other injuries, including a bruise between Zahau’s ribcage that was indicative of blunt force trauma and possibly of a struggle.

  7. Kimster

    Kimster Director Staff Member

    Civil cases don't require a unanimous decision from a jury, IIRC. I don't think they're going to get one in this trial.
  8. Uno2Much

    Uno2Much Bronze Member

    Messages on Rebecca Zahau's phone paint picture of troubled woman, investigators say

    To sheriff’s investigators, the messages found on Rebecca Zahau’s cellphone after her bizarre hanging death at a Coronado mansion painted the picture of a troubled woman.

    In the notes, Zahau described being disrespected by her boyfriend’s two older children and hated by his two ex-wives. She laments not having children of her own.
    “It gives us a picture of her mindset at the time… she wasn’t happy,” Tsuida said.
    On Thursday, attorney C. Keith Greer, who represents the Zahau family, rejected the notion that the cellphone messages meant Zahau was suicidal.

    He also questioned other observations that investigators included in their determination that she died by her own hand, including that Zahau had been molested as a child.

    Read more: http://www.orlandosentinel.com/sd-me-zahau-phone-messages-20180315-story.html
  9. SheWhoMustNotBeNamed

    SheWhoMustNotBeNamed Administrator Staff Member

    Adam Shacknai Takes the Stand, Denies Involvement in Rebecca Zahau’s Death

    A man being sued by the family of a woman who authorities said committed suicide by hanging herself at her millionaire boyfriend’s Coronado mansion testified Monday that he had nothing to do with her death.

    Adam Shacknai, 54, testified that he emerged from a guest house at the mansion about 6:45 a.m. on July 13, 2011, and saw Rebecca Zahau‘s naked, lifeless body hanging from a second-story balcony.

    Shacknai, the younger brother of Zahau’s boyfriend, Jonah Shacknai, said he called 911, lowered the 32-year-old Zahau to the ground, and tried to perform CPR on her. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

    Dan Webb, the attorney for Adam Shacknai, asked his client if he participated at all in Zahau’s death.

    “Most certainly not,” Shacknai testified.

    Webb told the jury that there was no evidence that Adam Shacknai — who has lived and worked in Memphis for 30 years — had anything to do with Zahau’s death. Adam Shacknai said Zahau encouraged him to come to San Diego to support his brother at his time of need.

    Webb said the plaintiffs would not be able to prove their case.

    spike, Uno2Much and Cousin Dupree like this.
  10. SheWhoMustNotBeNamed

    SheWhoMustNotBeNamed Administrator Staff Member

    1 of 3 claims in Zahau wrongful death lawsuit dismissed

    One of the three claims in the Rebecca Zahau wrongful death lawsuit — a minor issue involving misuse of her property — was dismissed in court Tuesday.

    San Diego Superior Court Judge Katherine Bacal left in place the two most serious causes of action, wrongful death and battery.

    The defense then filed a 13-page motion for nonsuit, claiming that Greer had failed to present any eyewitness, law enforcement, scientific or documentary evidence linking Shacknai to the death.

    Bacal disagreed in part, saying there were inferences a jury could draw from testimony presented by various expert witnesses called by Greer to talk about knots used on the ropes that bound Zahau and handwriting analysis of a message painted on a bedroom door.

    However, the judge dismissed a cause of action for conversion, that Shacknai “intentionally and substantially interfered with Zahau’s personal property.”

    Greer told the judge the property he was referring to included the long-sleeved blue T-shirt used to gag Zahau's mouth. He admitted he had no evidence that the shirt was hers.

    Lily, spike, Uno2Much and 1 other person like this.
  11. Uno2Much

    Uno2Much Bronze Member

    Testimony Wraps Up in Zahau Wrongful Death Suit; Closings Monday
    The attorney for the plaintiffs, Keith Greer, alleged that Adam Shacknai delivered four blows to the head of Zahau, rendering her partially or fully unconscious. Greer also alleged that the defendant sexually assaulted Zahau, tied her hands and feet, put a noose around her neck and threw her body off a second-story balcony.
    Adam Shacknai’s attorney, Dan Webb, countered that there was no evidence that his client — who has lived and worked in Memphis for 30 years — had anything to do with Zahau’s death. Adam Shacknai said Zahau encouraged him to come to San Diego to support his brother at his time of need.

    Read more: https://timesofsandiego.com/crime/2...in-zahau-wrongful-death-suit-closings-monday/
    Lily, spike, Kimster and 2 others like this.
  12. Uno2Much

    Uno2Much Bronze Member

    Marcia Clark doesn’t believe Rebecca Zahau’s death was a suicide

    SAN DIEGO – Famed prosecutor Marcia Clark openly talked about Rebecca Zahau's death saying the evidence in the case doesn't match up with a suicide theory.
    Clark, best known as the prosecutor in O.J. Simpson's murder trial, told FOX 5 in an interview Tuesday the evidence points to something other than suicide.

    Read more: http://fox5sandiego.com/2018/03/27/marcia-clark-doesnt-believe-rebecca-zahaus-death-was-a-suicide/


    One thing about the message on the bedroom door: Whoever wrote it assumed Max would recover; Rebecca had already been informed that he wasn't expected to survive. I hope Greer points that out.
  13. Kimster

    Kimster Director Staff Member

    Interesting testimony on Tuesday:

    Shacknai’s attorney asked Davis if he knew that Zahau’s DNA was found on a knot and on other portions of the rope which she allegedly used to kill herself.

    Defense attorney Dan Webb also asked Davis if he was aware that no DNA from Adam Shacknai was found on that rope.

    “The fact that her DNA is on that knot, did you at least consider that was consistent with your view that this was a suicide?” Webb asked Davis.

    “Yes sir,” Davis responded.

    Davis was the final witness presented by the defense, so testimony in the trial is now complete.

  14. Cousin Dupree

    Cousin Dupree Platinum Member

    That is interesting.
    spike and Kimster like this.
  15. SheWhoMustNotBeNamed

    SheWhoMustNotBeNamed Administrator Staff Member

    Rebecca Zahau wrongful death case entering its final phase

    Closing arguments began Monday in the wrongful death civil suit filed by the family of 32-year-old Rebecca Zahau.

    Closing arguments continue Tuesday. Jury deliberations could begin Tuesday afternoon.


    Jurors begin deliberations in Zahau wrongful death trial

    Jurors in a civil wrongful death trial began deliberating Tuesday about whether Adam Shacknai killed Rebecca Zahau at his brother’s Coronado mansion seven years ago.

    The attorneys finished their case summaries, and jurors headed to the deliberating room about 11:30 a.m.

    They are tasked with deciding if Shacknai touched Zahau with intent to harm her, or touched her with intent to cause death. If they find that he did, they are asked to decide on damages for Zahau’s mother, for the loss of Zahau’s economic support and future companionship.

    Lily, spike, Kimster and 3 others like this.
  16. Kimster

    Kimster Director Staff Member

  17. Kimster

    Kimster Director Staff Member

  18. SoSueMe

    SoSueMe Administrative Manager Staff Member

    Wow. I must say I’m surprised as well. Not because I think he is innocent but because of the lack of evidence. Then again I was not privy to everything presented at trial.

    I absolutely do believe she was murdered and did not kill herself.
  19. Cousin Dupree

    Cousin Dupree Platinum Member

    Very cool!! :cool: This will make it harder for the SD police. How can they ignore the decision of this jury and not investigate further?
  20. Cousin Dupree

    Cousin Dupree Platinum Member


    Jury awards Rebecca Zahau family $5M in woman's mysterious Coronado mansion death
    • By Pavni Mittal
    Apr 4, 2018, 4:56 PM ET

    A civil jury in San Diego Superior Court has found Adam Shacknai responsible for the mysterious death of Rebecca Zahau and awarded her family $5 million in punitive damages.

    Zahau's July 2011 death at Spreckels Mansion in Coronado, California, had been ruled a suicide by authorities, but in 2013, her family filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against Adam Shacknai, the brother of Jonah Shacknai, Zahau's then-boyfriend, pharmaceutical tycoon Jonah Shacknai.

    Standing with Mary Zahau-Loehner, Zahau’s sister, outside the courthouse, plaintiff's attorney C. Keith Greer said the case was never about money.

    " asked Mary at the end of the day, ‘Wow, what do we do? … We got a verdict.’ And she says, ‘We got to get the case reopened, that’s it.’ Our job’s not done yet," he said in a news conference on Wednesday after the verdict...

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