Civil trial begins over death of Rebecca Zahau

Family says she was murdered
Posted at 8:46 AM, Feb 26, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-26 16:43:25-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - Almost seven years after she was found hanging from a bed at the Spreckels Mansion in Coronado, the trial over Rebecca Zahau's death will begin Monday with jury selection.

The San Diego County Sheriff's Department ruled Zahau's death a suicide, but her family thinks she was murdered.

"I think there are too many unanswered questions in this case," said Keith Greer, the Zahau family's attorney.

The family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Adam Shacknai, the brother of Zahau's boyfriend, Jonah Shacknai.

INTERACTIVE TIMELINE: Rebecca Zahau's death and investigation

Zahau's death has captured headlines since she was discovered hanging nude from the second balcony of the Spreckels Mansion in Coronado in July 2011.

Zahau's body was discovered just a couple days after her boyfriend's son, Max, fell down some stairs and died in what was considered an accident. At the time, Max was under Zahau's care.

Greer said he has ample evidence to show that Zahau was murdered.

"Most of the evidence that we have is things we got from the sheriff," he said. "We just looked at it more in-depth."


Because this is a civil trial, Adam Shacknai can't be sentenced to prison.

Greer said the Zahau family isn't interested in money. Rather, they want a guilty verdict to force the sheriff's department to reopen the investigation.

"Until the sheriff does something, the family is not going to let their sister, their daughter, die in vain," Greer said. "At least here we can get a civil judgment that shows a jury found (Adam) was the murderer. We can hold him accountable socially, and we just hope the sheriff can take the next step."