A killer’s friend surrendered to authorities Thursday on a charge of helping the accused get away from a crime scene in Laguna Niguel.
Elizabeth Anne Thornburg, 38, of Mission Viejo was charged Wednesday with being an accessory after the fact, according to Senior Deputy District Attorney Mark Birney. Her arraignment Thursday was rescheduled for Oct. 12, and her bail was set at $20,000.
Co-defendant Craig Matthew Tanber, 40, is awaiting trial on a murder charge. He is accused of fatally stabbing 22-year-old Shayan Mazroei on Sept. 8, 2015, at Patsy’s Irish Pub in Laguna Niguel.
The criminal case against Tanber, who was previously convicted of voluntary manslaughter, has been bogged down with allegations of outrageous governmental misconduct in the way sheriff’s deputies tracked Tanber down. A deputy is accused of giving heroin to an informant to help find Tanber. Evidentiary hearings on the issue are pending.
The victim’s family sued the pub and its security last year and lost those claims, but jurors in the civil trial ordered Tanber to pay $6 million to the Mazroei family.
The chain of events leading to the stabbing started when Thornburg got into a dispute with Mazroei. An attorney for Patsy’s Irish Pub in the civil suit said last year that Thornburg felt the victim was “insensitive to women,” spurring her to call him an “Arab,” though the victim was of Iranian descent, attorney Robert Bergsten said.
Thornburg spit on the victim at one point during the conflict, prompting Mazroei to do the same to her, Bergsten said.
A bouncer at the pub overheard Tanber telling Thornburg he ought to “stick” the victim, which prompted the bouncer to kick Tanber and Thornburg out of the bar, Bergsten said.
When the bouncer, however, got distracted after he told the two to leave the property, Tanber returned to the bar and motioned Mazroei to come outside, where the victim was stabbed, Bergsten said.
After Tanber allegedly fled the scene, Thornburg found him in the area, picked him up and gave him a ride to Mission Viejo even though she knew deputies would be looking for him, Birney alleged. Thornburg also ignored the pub’s security guard’s admonishment to stay at the scene as police were called, Birney said.
If convicted at trial, Thornburg could face up to three years in prison.
Tanber was free on parole at the time of the conflict. He had been charged with murder in the April 4, 2004, beating death of 26-year-old Cory Lamons in Huntington Beach, but he struck a plea bargain with prosecutors after a mistrial was declared when an alternate juror Googled one of the co-defendants and shared the information with other panelists.
Tanber pleaded guilty Feb. 2, 2007, to voluntary manslaughter and admitted sentencing enhancements for doing so to benefit a street gang, according to court records. He also pleaded guilty to dissuading a witness by force, street terrorism and assault with a deadly weapon or force likely to produce great bodily injury. Tanber was sentenced to 13 years in prison.