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Jury finds Adam Shacknai responsible in Rebecca Zahau wrongful death case

Posted at 10:31 AM, Apr 04, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-05 10:28:47-04

A day after deliberations began in the wrongful death civil case over a mysterious Coronado mansion death, a jury has reached a verdict.

A jury Wednesday found Adam Shacknai responsible in the death of Rebecca Zahau at the Spreckles Mansion in 2011. Zahau's family will be awarded $5 million in punitive damages.

Jurors were asked two main questions: Did Adam Shacknai touch Rebecca Zahau (before she died) with the intent to harm her? Did that touching cause her death? Jurors determined "yes" in both instances.

RELATED: Evidence room unlocked in mysterious death of Rebecca Zahau at Spreckels Mansion

Though Zahau's death was ruled a suicide, her family has insisted she was a murder victim and has accused Adam Shacknai of being responsible.

Adam Shacknai has denied the accusations and his brother and Zahau's boyfriend, Jonah, testified it was "inconceivable" that he had anything to do with Zahau's death.

Zahau’s body was found on the ground at the Spreckels Mansion in Coronado on July 13, 2011, by investigators. Her hands and feet were bound and a rope around her neck was the same rope discovered hanging from a balcony above, according to investigators.

Adam Shacknai had been staying in the guest house of the mansion and called 911 to report Zahau's death.

However, Zahau's family attorney, Keith Greer, argued that Adam Shacknai was far more involved in the death. Greer argued Adam Shacknai delivered four blows to Zahau's head, rendering her at least partially unconscious and then sexually assaulted her.

After, Greer said Zahau's hands and feet were bound and a noose was put around her neck before Adam Shacknai threw her body over a mansion balcony.

Zahau's death followed days after the death of Max Shacknai, the 6-year-old son of her boyfriend Jonah Shacknai. The young boy died from injuries sustained from a fall at the mansion while under Zahau's care. Authorities ruled Max's death accidental.