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Judge declines new civil trial against Adam Shacknai over 2011 death of Rebecca Zahau

Posted at 3:42 PM, Jan 25, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-25 20:32:59-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — A judge Friday declined to order a new trial over the 2011 death of Rebecca Zahau at Coronado's Spreckels Mansion.

The judge issued the tentative ruling declining a new civil trial against Adam Shacknai, who's accused of being responsible for Zahau's death by her family, and postponed arguments until Feb. 6.

Shacknai had requested a judge overturn a civil trial's findings against him or have a new trial after a jury found him responsible for Zahau's death and awarded her family $5 million in damages in April 2018.

RELATED: San Diego County Sheriff will not reopen case in Coronado mansion death of Rebecca Zahau

The judge looked at the evidence Friday and decided that there was nothing substantial that would force a new trial and that there's enough to support the jury's conclusion.

The San Diego County Sheriff's Department announced in December they would not reopen the case after a new review of Zahau's death.

San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore said there was no evidence Zahau "died at the hands of another," after a team had looked at the case with "fresh eyes." The department has ruled her death was a suicide.

RELATED: Jury finds Adam Shacknai responsible in Rebecca Zahau wrongful death case

Zahau, 32, was the girlfriend of the mansion’s owner, Arizona pharmaceutical CEO Jonah Shacknai. Two days before her death, Zahau had been babysitting Jonah Shacknai’s 6-year-old son Max when he was seriously injured in a fall down a staircase. Max died from his injuries five days later.

Adam Shackani was a guest at the mansion and called 911 on July 13, 2011, to report finding Zahau's nude body hanging from a balcony. Investigators found her body on the ground, her hands and feet bound with the same red rope discovered hanging over the balcony.

Zahau's family has alleged Adam Shacknai was responsible for sexually assaulting and killing Zahau.

RELATED: Family attorney: Evidence disproves suicide

Adam Shacknai has denied the accusations, saying in December 2018, "I was in no way involved with Rebecca's death, which was part of a tragic sequence of events, that also involved the loss of my 6-year-old nephew Max."