A woman who authorities said committed suicide by hanging herself at her millionaire boyfriend’s Coronado mansion in 2011 was actually attacked and killed by her boyfriend’s younger brother, a plaintiff’s attorney alleged Wednesday, but an attorney for the defendant said there was no evidence that his client had anything to do with the death of Rebecca Zahau.
Opening statements were delivered in the trial of a lawsuit filed by the mother and older sister of Zahau, alleging that Adam Shacknai, the brother of Arizona pharmaceuticals tycoon Jonah Shacknai, confronted the victim a day after Jonah Shacknai’s 6-year-old son Max fell from a second-story landing at the mansion and was critically injured. The boy died five days later.
The attorney for the plaintiffs, Keith Greer, allege that Adam Shacknai delivered four blows to the head of Zahau, rendering her partially or fully unconscious.
Adam Shacknai, 54, then bound Zahau’s hands and feet, put a noose around her neck, and threw her naked body off a second-story balcony, Greer alleged.
Greer said Zahau’s mother and older sister should be awarded unspecified monetary damages for loss of companionship and emotional support.
Dan Webb, the lead attorney for Adam Shacknai, told the jury that the plaintiffs would not be able to prove their case.
Webb said only Rebecca Zahau’s fingerprints were on the ropes that bound her.
“Adam never harmed anybody in his life,” Webb said.
Webb said Adam Shacknai was staying in a guest house at the mansion and discovered Zahau’s body hanging from the balcony about 6:45 a.m. on July 13, 2011.
Adam Shacknai called 911 and cut the victim down, Webb told the jury.
The attorney said four law enforcement agencies investigated the death for two months and determined that Zahau committed suicide.
–City News Service
>> Subscribe to Times of San Diego’s free daily email newsletter! Click hereFollow Us: