White supremacist was out of prison 86 days when stabbed man to death

Minyvonne Burke

A white supremacist gang member in California who had been out of prison just three months when he stabbed a 22-year-old man to death was sentenced Friday to 56 years to life.

Craig Matthew Tanber stabbed Shayan Mazroei through the heart and in the shoulder following a confrontation at a bar in Laguna Niguel in September 2015. Mazroei died from his injuries at a hospital.

Tanber was at the bar with his girlfriend, Elizabeth Thornburg, when Thornburg "exchanged words" with Mazroei while they were standing outside, the Orange County District Attorney's Office said in a press release.

Witnesses testified that Thornburg hurled racial slurs at Mazroei, and video showed her spit on him several times. Senior Deputy District Attorney Mark Birney told NBC Los Angeles that Thornburg had shared "her views of Persians and of people from the Middle East."

As Thornburg and Tanber went back into the bar, Mazroei spit on Thornburg, the district attorney's said.

A bouncer at the establishment asked Tanber and his girlfriend to leave following the altercation. Prosecutors said the couple waited outside the bar before Tanber went back inside, punched Mazroei in the face and then stabbed him.

Tanber, 40, of Los Alamitos, fled the scene but was arrested three days later at a motel. He was convicted in December of one felony count of second-degree murder and one count of personal use of a weapon.

Thornburg was charged with one felony count of accessory after the fact.

Tanber is a member of a prominent Orange County white supremacist gang, NBC Los Angeles reported.

In 2017, Tanber admitted to being involved in the death of a 26-year-old man who was fatally beaten with a claw hammer after he allegedly stole money from the girlfriend of a former white supremacist gang member. He pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of voluntary manslaughter after his murder trial ended in a mistrial due to juror misconduct.

He was out of prison 86 days when he fatally stabbed Mazroei, NBC Los Angeles reports.