SAN DIEGO -- Rebecca Zahau's mother broke down on the stand today during day two of a wrongful death lawsuit surrounding her daughter, who was found naked and hanging from the second-story balcony of a Coronado mansion in 2011.
Zahau's death was ruled a suicide, but the wrongful-death suit blames her boyfriend's brother, Adam Shacknai, for her death.
"They killed her," Parri Zahau said during her emotional tesimony. She also explained that her daughter often sent home money to help her parents, about how their family came to the U.S., and about Rebecca's love to sing songs with her mother.
Some of the most compelling testimony came from fingerprint expert Lisa Dimeo, who spoke about Zahau’s prints found on a kitchen knife near her body at the crime scene. Keith Greer, attorney for the Zahau family, had Dimeo demonstrate how Rebecca may have been holding the knife and trying to free herself before she was murdered.
Shacknai's attorneys continue to insist that there is no physical evidence linking the Memphis tugboat captain to the scene.
Two days before Zahau died, her boyfriend’s 6-year-old son fell over a stairway railing while under her care. Authorities speculated Zahau killed herself because she was distraught over his declining condition. He died in a hospital three days later.
Because it is a civil case, Shacknai cannot receive time in prison, regardless of the proceedings' outcome. The trial is expected to continue for at least a month.