Trial verdict: http://youtu.be/1axJFXKUuYk Greers press conference: http://youtu.be/Hd5ETqsBH7g Webbs press conference: http://youtu.be/ltMFcJdhBDo Gore surprised by verdict: http://youtu.be/jiGj_q9Zsf0 Gores comment on verdict: http://youtu.be/s0ehJIAO5wI The civil trial concluded that Rebecca Zahau did not commit suicide. The finding was that Rebecca Zahau was murdered and the responsible party was Adam Shacknai For those who have followed the case since 2011, it has all come full circle. The initial impression of the crime scene was that it was a homicide, a fact mentioned in the first search warrant: Based on my training and experience and my initial investigation I believe that based on the fact that the Asian female had her hands and legs bound and was found in the condition that she was found by Adam Shacknai that she was a victim of a homicide. -From search warrant (41227) by San Diego County Sheriff's Det. Brian Patterson. Following an investigation led by the SDSO, despite the early impression that it was a homicide, they instead concluded Rebeccas death was a suicide. Shortly after the conclusion of the trial, the SDSO issued a press release which in part said, In regards to the criminal investigation, the Sheriff's Department stands by the findings of the Medical Examiner's Office and our investigators. These findings were supported by forensic evidence and medical examinations. While eventually relenting and agreeing to review, (but not reopen,) the case, its difficult not to be skeptical given the very rigid stance taken by the SDSO over these past years. Sheriff Bill Gore says hes very surprised by the verdict. Gore said of the crime scene, Im going to murder somebody but I want to make it look like a suicide, but Im going to make it look the most improbable suicide, so people really think its a murder. Its completely illogical." Gore fails immediately here. This is not a murder that looks like suicide, it is a murder that looks like murder. The only unusual element is that it is so audacious. I believe the best way to illustrate that this is unquestionably a homicide is to examine the one piece of this puzzle that all sides would agree is inexorably linked to who is responsible for the events that night at the Spreckels Mansion. The message on the door was written by the person responsible for the events that culminated in the death of Rebecca Zahau. The paint tube found at the scene was purchased by Rebecca. She handled it at the time of purchase and subsequently. There is every reasonable expectation that both her fingerprints and DNA would be found on the tube from this fact alone. If Rebecca wrote the message, she would have had to squeeze the tube some 20 or more times as estimated by attorney Keith Greer. If Adam Shacknai wrote the message, similarly, he would have had to squeeze the tube 20 or more times. Rebecca or Adam would have had to grip and use a paintbrush to write the message. Rebecca or Adam would have written the message in a manner consistent with their patterns of writing. If Rebecca wrote a final message, it would presumably have the ring of a suicide note. It is very unlikely to be written in the third person and be best characterized as a taunt. It is even more unlikely that it be written in writing completely dissimilar to her writing characteristics. Rebecca would have no reason to wipe the tube clean of fingerprints and DNA. (Only one print was found located on the lid and that print did belong to Rebecca, but not unusual at considering she purchased the paint. The tube which would have been handled and squeezed numerous times was devoid of forensic evidence.) Rebecca would have no reason to wipe the paintbrushes clean of fingerprints and DNA. Only someone who did not want their prints and DNA found would wipe these items clean. Of course, Adam would naturally wish to not have his prints and DNA found on these or any items which would connect him to Rebecca. What could not be erased is the fact that Adams writing had characteristics that matched the writing on the door and Rebeccas did not. Testimony also showed that it was written at a height consistent with a person that is between 510 and 6 tall. Adams height: 511. Rebeccas height: 53 1/2 Gore also resurrected an old claim that he held off dismissing the case as a suicide until the toxicology results came in. Presumably this means that if there was evidence that Rebecca was incapacitated by some drug he would have continued the investigation. Obviously, there are other ways to incapacitate someone. Rebecca was struck on the head four times according to the autopsy report. Another area which, seemingly, was incomprehensible to Gore was that of the fingerprint and DNA evidence. If looked at through the suicide prism only, an illusion can be created and was created. From the SDSO website, the FAQ page shows that there is only a focus on maintaining the sanctity of the suicide narrative. Looking at these questions, for example, we now know how deceptive the answers are because the civil lawsuit placed the forensic evidence under much needed scrutiny. ------------------------------------------------------------------- SDSO FAQ: Question: Were there prints and DNA on the knives? Answer: The small knife had Rebeccas DNA, and only Rebeccas DNA. No fingerprints were developed from this item. The large knife had Rebeccas fingerprints, and only Rebeccas fingerprints. A low level of DNA material was found on this knife as well, but it was not enough for any comparison. Reality: We now know that the small knife had only Rebeccas DNA because the biological sample was from blood blood from the handle being inserted into the vagina of Rebecca. Consistent with a sexual assault and homicide, not suicide. Similarly disingenuous is the characterization that the large knife had Rebeccas fingerprints, and only Rebeccas fingerprints. While absolutely true, we now know that to be deceptive because of where the fingerprints were found. They were found on the blade of the knife in a pattern consistent with holding the knife behind ones back. This would be a potential scenario if Rebecca was attempting to cut the rope in an attempt to free herself. A crucial fact not mentioned is that no fingerprints were on the handle of this knife. Consistent with homicide, not suicide. ------------------------------------------------------------------- Question: Were there prints of her or anyone else in the house? Answer: Rebeccas prints were found in all areas of the incident scene, and on items directly related to the event (knife, paint tube). Reality: The knives in the bedroom were addressed previously. What about the knife in the courtyard that Adam held and claimed he used to cut the rope from which Rebecca was suspended? No mention of the fact that no prints or DNA were found. And what of the paint tube? One print on the paint lid and no other forensic evidence elsewhere on the tube. How is that possible if Rebecca squeezed the tube numerous times in order to paint the message on the door? It is consistent with someone else using the tube and then wiping it clean. Consistent with homicide, not suicide. No DNA was present on the paintbrushes. Had Rebecca painted the message on the door youd expect her DNA to be there. Consistent with a homicide, not suicide. The door knobs in and out of the bedroom with the balcony yielded no fingerprints or DNA. A significant area of the door around the door knob and the door knobs themselves appear to have been wiped. Consistent with homicide, not suicide. While on the subject of the SDSO FAQ, the whole thing should be deleted to avoid further embarrassment. Every question is now seen in a new light subsequent to the civil trial. Some examples ------------------------------------------------------------------- Question: Why didnt we collect and process the panties in the trash? Post-trial reality: The jury wanted an answer and so have many who have followed the case. Adam admitted to masturbating at the scene, Rebecca is found nude why wouldnt a disposed pair of underwear not be tested. Why should they be satisfied with the explanation offered by Jonah Shacknai? ------------------------------------------------------------------- Question: Why cant you do handwriting comparisons with her suicide note? Post-trial reality: It should not be stated its a suicide note. Its a message on a door. And, obviously, you can analyze the writing, and had it been done during the criminal investigation, it would have pointed away from Rebecca and toward Adam. ------------------------------------------------------------------- Question: How did she learn these complex knots? Post-trial reality: Experts and laypeople alike are incredulous that Rebecca would have been able to bind herself in the manner in which she was found. Evidence offered in trial served only to underscore the reality that she was tied up. The SDSO went to great lengths in their attempt to show that self-binding was possible. Had they even considered the extremely limited amount of time Rebecca would have had to do what they claim she did, they would have seen how utterly preposterous the idea was. There had been no searches for knots or self-binding, nor was there any indication she would have been able to do the self-binding based on any life experience she may have had. In the civil trial, the defense knot expert said he had to practise the self-binding some 50 or 60 times. According to the SDSO, the suicide clock would have started at around 12:50 AM. The clock would have stopped at around 3:00 AM when they estimate Rebecca died. So, we are to believe that Rebecca developed deep suicidal ideation, formulated an astonishing suicide plan and completed all the necessary elements within a two hour span of time, even taking the time to pinch her own nipples, (evidenced by black paint residue,) as part of her plan? And, I have never heard any plausible explanation for binding ones feet. Mentioned by Gore as another factor that he has considered a key in his determination that this was a suicide was the alleged bad-news voicemail that Jonah claims he left and supposedly tipped Rebecca into the suicidal ideation. Given that this is such a key point, Gore would have to believe the word of Jonah without reservation. During the civil trial an attempt was made to bolster the view by bringing in a psychologist specializing in suicides to testify. From Rebeccas sister, Mary: Then their clinical psychologist picked incidences throughout Rebeccas life, some weight loss (5 lbs. per autopsy weight), some sleeplessness, her stress with Jonahs kids, her relationship with Jonah, and her 2 entries found in her phone to fit his testimony that she committed suicide. He claimed that Jonah Shacknais phone message about Max condition was the straw that broke the camels back. The fact is nobody has heard this message and nobody will ever know what that message said. The San Diego Sheriffs department and lead detective failed to retrieve the message in time from the carrier. Their most important straw that broke the camels back cannot be proven. Attorney Greer pointed out how this clinical psychologist ignored positive factors in her life and positive coping habits Rebecca had including my exercise, healthy eating, prayers, and her faith in God. Rebecca had no history of depression, no threats of suicide in the past, no diagnosis of depression, no history of alcohol or substance abuse, and anybody who knows her will say she always had positive outlook in life and lightens the mood of those around her. She made plans for the future that included our fathers birthday party that fall of 2011. According to this psychologist, most of us are at risk of suicide and will most likely commit suicide because we all have stressors whether its issues in relationship at one time or another, stress about step kids, lost sleep, lost weight, have tragic events/deaths, and so on. I have not slept more than 5-6 hours a night since Rebecca was murdered, our father has died 2013 with broken heart, and obviously I am under a lot of stress leading up to trial since 2011, financial stress of trial expenses, and now during trial in addition to daily stress of being a parent, having a job, taking care of family etc. I wonder what my psychology evaluation would be according to him????? ------------------------------------------------------------------- How did the SDSO do at the civil trial? The ME, Jonathan Lucas didnt show up to defend his autopsy findings and the lead detective, Det. Angela Tsuida, had an abysmal outing. In perhaps the most preposterous explanation in the entire trial, Tsuida attempted to explain the blood found on all sides of the handle of the small knife in the bedroom. She speculated it was held between two fingers of Rebecca, (one of which had an abrasion,) and the knife was rotated - anything but admit the knife was used to sexually assault Rebecca. Keith Greer noted that Tsuidas testimony was likely a watershed moment in the trial in terms of the credibility of the investigation. Her testimony was at best evasive, and at worst, desperate and embarrassing. But, at least she showed up. It shouldnt have come to this. Justice for Rebecca should not have had to wait seven years and come in the form of a judgement in a wrongful death lawsuit. Going forward, there are many avenues to be pursued in terms of properly investigating Rebeccas death. A key piece of evidence is the knife with Rebeccas blood it needs to be thoroughly tested if its condition makes that possible. Adam Shacknai needs to be investigated with at least as much zeal and focus as the SDSO investigation into Rebecca. Keith Greer is optimistic about the promised review of the case. Regardless of the outcome, Mr. Greer is absolutely right in stating that the results of the review will be subject to intense scrutiny. In light of so much information being revealed to the public during the civil trial pointing to this being a homicide, it will be exceedingly difficult for the review to simply rubber-stamp the previous determination of suicide.