Prosecutors in California's Orange County said on Friday that they will seek death penalty for an Indian national who is charged with brutally murdering his ex-girlfriend's father and sister in 2007 over anger that the girl's family disapproved of their relationship.
Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas said he will seek the death penalty against 25-year-old Iftekhar Murtaza for conspiring and murdering his Indian-American ex-girlfriend Shayona Dhanak's father Jaypraykash Dhanak and sister Karishma as well as attempting to murder her mother Leela and setting the victims' bodies on fire.
In March 2007, 18-year-old Shayona, a freshman at the University of California, Irvine, ended a two-year dating relationship with Murtaza since the Dhanaks disapproved of the relationship partly because they were practicing Hindus and Murtaza was a non-practicing Muslim, the attorney said.
Murtaza is charged with two felony counts of special circumstances murder, one felony count of attempted murder and one felony count of conspiracy to commit murder.
He faces sentencing enhancements for multiple murders, murder during the commission of a burglary, murder during the commission of kidnapping and murder for financial gain.
He is being held without bail and is scheduled for a pre-trial hearing later today at Santa Ana, California.
Murtaza held Shayona's parents responsible for the break-up because they did not like him and had pressured her to end the relationship, the OCDA said.