Inside the Spreckels Mansion Murder Case

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Chapter Event: San Diego


Learn how attorney Keith Greer used a variety of experts to win the Sprecklels Mansion case.

In 2011, Rebecca Zahau died at the Spreckels Mansion in Coronado, California. The San Diego County medical examiner ruled her death by hanging as a suicide. The Zahau family did not accept this explanation of Rebecca’s death. In March, 2018 attorney Keith Greer tried the civil wrongful death case for the plaintiff. Adam Shacknai, brother of Rebecca’s boyfriend Jonah, was found responsible for murdering Rebecca. This case made national attention and was profiled on Marcia Clark’s program, The First 48, 20/20 and Dateline.

Greer used several experts in this case to determine whether his client’s suspicions about Rebecca’s death were correct. In this presentation, attorney Keith Greer, with forensic document examiner Mike Wakshull who testified for two days about the handwriting found on a door in the Spreckels mansion, and forensic psychologist Lisa Boesky who specializes in suicide, will share their knowledge about the case.

Greer will describe how he selected the experts for the case. Experts included a knot expert, forensic pathologist, handwriting examiner, and others. He will share with you how he worked with the experts and his approach to direct examination and preparation for cross examination.

The defense in this case hired high-profile attorneys from New York and Chicago. They were unable to successfully defend the case.


C. Keith Greer
Attorney C. Keith Greer has been in private practice since 1988, after graduating from California Western School of Law, with honors. In the early part of his career, Mr. Greer represented swindled investors and consumers in class action litigation against the likes of Charles Keating, Jr., Ivan Boesky and Michael Milken. He has subsequently tried a variety of cases, including personal injury, securities fraud, wrongful termination and labor law violations, medical malpractice, elder abuse and he recently successfully tried the Rebecca Zahau wrongful death case. Mr. Greer lectures nationally and is well published. He is also an Adjunct Professor of Law at Samuel Merritt University.


Mike Wakshull
Mike Wakshull is a court-qualified forensic document examiner located in Temecula, CA. He partners with attorney clients to deliver results that often lead to early settlements in favor of the counsel who retained him. When cases go to trial, he presents them in jury-speak rather than techno-geek to educate the triers of fact. He applies his technical and science training to present a science-based approach to his opinions—a court requirement.

Mike has authored two books on the topic of forensic document examination. He has presented at several international forensics conferences. A member of several industry-related associations, he serves of the board of two. Mike has had forensic document examination cases from twenty states.

He has been qualified as an expert witness in California Superior Courts and Federal District Court, testifying in cases involving will contests, contract disputes and others. Questioned documents discovered include an altered deed, cut‐and‐paste signatures, altered mortgage documents, altered handwritten documents, electronic documents, and many other types of questioned documents. In March 2018 he testified for two days in the Zahau v. Shacknai wrongful death at the Spreckels Mansion case.  Mike earned a graduate school certificate in forensic document examination from an accredited university.

Mike is a past president of FEWA San Diego. He is a member of the National Speakers Association. He was an invited speaker at two conferences of the California District Attorneys Association, the annual conference of the National Association of Document Examiners (NADE), Association of Forensic Document Examiners (AFDE), World Congress of Forensics in Chongqing, China, National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), and others.  

You can learn more about Mike and Q9 Consulting, Inc. at


Dr. Lisa Boesky
Dr. Lisa Boesky is a national thought leader on Suicide within Correctional, Substance Abuse, and Mental Health Treatment facilities. She provides Expert Witness testimony and Litigation Consultation services on legal cases involving individuals who have died by Suicide. Dr. Lisa is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist who has spent over two decades speaking/teaching, conducts “Suicide Vulnerability Assessments” within correctional and treatment facilities, and has authored several books and other publications. Dr. Lisa has served as an opinion source for CNN, CNN International, Fox News, CBS News, ABC News, US News and World Report, People Magazine, USA Today and many others. Additional details can be found at


6:00-6:30 Networking
6:30-6:45 Business and Intros
6:45-7:45 Presentation
7:45-8:00 Closing

FREE Admission to any Non-FEWA Member and to any current San Diego Chapter Member who is attending for the first time!

Please contact the FEWA National office at 415-369-9614 to receive free pricing. 


Filippi’s Restaurant
5353 Kearny Villa Road
San Diego, CA 92123


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Non-member price: $20.00

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Non-member price: $25.00

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