Second Suspect Charged in Possible Hate Crime Murder of Iranian American Student

Shayan Mazroei was called a “terrorist” minutes before his murder (Photo courtesy of the Mazroei family)

On the eve of statute of limitations, the Orange County district attorney’s office (OCDA) is charging a second person in the 2015 stabbing murder of 22-year-old college student Shayan Mazroei at a Laguna Niguel bar.

Elizabeth Anne Thornburg, a 38-year-old Mission Viejo resident, now faces a felony “accessory after the fact” charge for allegedly aiding the crime scene escape of Craig Tanber, her longtime friend and a former Public Enemy Number One Death Squad (PEN1) white supremacist who faces trial in January 2019.

According to an Orange County Sheriff’s Department (OCSD) investigation that relied on surveillance camera footage and eyewitnesses, Thornburg got into a pool table argument that eventually included mutual spitting with Mazroei at Patsy’s Irish Pub.

Later, Tanber lured Mazroei outside of the establishment, stabbed the unarmed man in the heart and fled.

He had no idea of Tanber’s background or that he’d recently been released from prison for prior felony convictions.

Days later, sheriff’s deputies, who enjoyed personal relations with Tanber’s Latina girlfriend, convinced her to overdose the accused killer on heroin so they could raid his hotel room without a confrontation, the defendant’s defense attorneys have alleged.

(You can read that story HERE.)

Meanwhile, the victim’s mother, Shahzad Mazroei, released a statement today in the wake of the new charge.

“I can never get my son back, and that is a nightmare I live with every day,” she said. “But I can make sure the people who tortured my son and caused his death are held responsible for their actions.”


Hamid Mazroei reiterated his belief that his son was the victim of a hate crime because he was called an “[expletive] Iranian” and “terrorist” during the murder.

However, the DA’s office has refused to file a hate crime enhancement against Tanber, who told police bigotry was not his motivation in the killing. He claims he didn’t appreciate his victim’s hostile treatment of a woman.

Though Sheriff Sandra Hutchens’ often incompetent agency fails to record her custody despite the government’s arrest two days ago, Thornburg is scheduled for arraignment on Oct. 12 at Orange County’s Harbor Justice Center in Newport Beach.

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