Judge rejects Adam Shacknai’s plea for new civil trial over Rebecca Zahau’s death

SAN DIEGO – A San Diego judge Friday handed a victory to the family of Rebecca Zahau – the woman found dead in the Coronado Spreckels mansion nearly eight years ago.

In her tentative ruling, Judge Katherine Bacal said, to be clear, there was not a lot of evidence supporting the jury’s verdict and it was all circumstantial -- but she still concluded that the evidence was sufficient.

Friday was the first time in more than nine and a half months that FOX 5 saw Adam Shacknai in court. He showed no emotion as he listed to his attorney, Dan Webb.

Last April, a civil jury not only found him liable for Zahau’s death, but they also awarded her family more than $5 million.

The judge rejected Shacknai’s contentions that there was jury misconduct, among other issues. On the opposite side of the courtroom, Mary Zahau-Loehner, alongside her attorney Keith Greer, was pleased with the judge’s ruling.

Outside court, FOX 5 asked what it was like to sit in the same courtroom with Adam Shacknai once again.

“I’m not surprised but I also had my family, my church and everybody behind me praying for us and we know that we can’t predict the future but we know the future will prevail,” Zahau-Loehner said.

FOX 5 also asked about her pursuit of justice for sister, whom she dearly misses.

"My sister was murdered and no, I am not going to give up and and no, my family is not going to give up," Zahau-Loehner said. "We are going to continue to fight until we can prove the murderer, who he is, what he did to my sister and get a verdict and and put him in jail."

In her ruling, judge Bacal wrote the court feels remiss if it does not state that the Sheriff’s investigation leaves almost as many questions unanswered as answered, saying it is still not unreasonable to still ask, “who killed Rebecca Zahau?”

Greer says his clients want the medical examiner, Dr. Glenn Wagner, to change Zahau's manner of death from suicide to homicide and get new evidence to result in a criminal trial.

Both sides will be back in court Feb. 6 to respond to the judge’s ruling.

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.