A 40-year-old convicted white supremacist gang member was found guilty Wednesday of the fatal stabbing of a 22-year-old man at a Laguna Niguel bar in 2015, officials announced.
A jury found Craig Matthew Tanber, of Los Alamitos, guilty of one felony count of second-degree murder. The fatal stabbing of Shayan Mazroei happened on Sept. 8, 2015, after Tanber and his girlfriend were told to leave The Original Patsy’s Irish Pub, the Orange County District Attorney’s Office reported.
On the night of the killing prosecutors said Tanber’s girlfriend, Elizabeth Thornburg, exchanged words with Mazroei when she went outside to smoke. Witnesses testified hearing Thornburg hurl racial slurs at Mazroei, and video footage captured her spitting on Mazroei several times, prosecutors said. Before walking back into the bar, Mazroei spit on Thornburg and she chased him back into the bar, officials said.
After the altercation, a bouncer asked Thornburg and Tanber to leave, but instead the couple waited outside of the bar, prosecutors said.
Video footage shows Tanber walking back into the bar after the bouncer left to deal with another issue inside. Tanber punched Mazroei and stabbed him twice, first through the heart and then in the shoulder and then fled the bar, officials said.
Mazroei stumbled back into the bar where he collapsed.
He was taken to a local hospital, where he later died, officials said.
The Orange County Sheriff’s Department arrested Tanber three days later at a motel in Westminster.
“Tanber is a very dangerous and violent man who has repeatedly shown a complete disregard for human life,” said Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer said in a news release.
Before Mazroei’s slaying, Tanber had only been out of prison for three months.
According to the DA’s Office, in 2007 Tanber admitted to helping kill a 26-year-old man who was beaten to death with a claw hammer after stealing money from the former girlfriend of a white supremacist gang member.
“Careful deliberation by the jury provided justice for Shayan and his family,” Spitzer said after Wednesday’s conviction. “We will do everything we can to argue to the court that he should spend the rest of his life in prison for murdering Shayan Mazroei, and robbing his family of a lifetime of memories.”
Tanber was also convicted of one felony count of the personal use of a weapon on Wednesday.
He is expected to be sentenced on Feb. 7, 2020 and faces 56 years to life in state prison.
Thornburg was charged with one felony count of accessory after the fact. Her pretrial hearing is scheduled for Feb. 21, 2020.