- A Chinese heiress charged with murdering the father of her children claims he actually died in a botched kidnap attempt by her personal trainer.
- Tiffany Li, 34, was charged after Keith Green, 27, was found dead in a field in Sonoma County, northwest California, in April 2016.
- San Mateo County prosecutors said Monday that Li and boyfriend Kaveh Bayat lured Green to their mansion and shot him dead to stop him winning custody of her daughters.
- Prosecutors said Li told bodyguard Olivier Adella to dispose of Green’s body, and that investigators found $35,000 cash stashed in Adella’s apartment.
- Attorneys for Li and Bayat deny murder. They say Adella killed Green while trying to kidnap him, while Adella is expected to testify to the contrary.
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A Chinese heiress and Bay Area socialite charged with murdering the father of her two children at her California mansion has denied the charges.
Instead, she says he was killed in a botched kidnap plot carried out by her security guard.
San Mateo County prosecutors charged Tiffany Li with murdering Keith Green after he was shot through the mouth. His body was found dumped in a ditch, in Sonoma County, northern San Francisco, in April 2016.
In a court statement Monday, prosecutors said Li lured Green, a 27-year-old aspiring chef. to her mansion in Hillsborough, California, to discuss their daughters. While there, they say she had new boyfriend Kaveh Bayat shoot him dead in the garage of the house.
Li then solicited the services of Olivier Adella to dispose of Green’s body, The Associated Press (AP) reported, citing the prosecution. The Washington Post reported that Adella was Li’s bodyguard at the time.
Attorneys for Bayat and 34-year-old Li deny the murder charges.
May Mar, Li’s attorney, said that Adella acted alone and killed Green during a botched kidnap attempt.
“They have the wrong people on trial, who they should be pursuing is Mr. Olivier Adella, that’s been clear from day one,” Mar told media outside Redwood City’s hall of justice.
Adella took a plea deal on charges of being an accessory to murder in exchange for testifying against Li and Bayat, the Post reported.
San Mateo deputy district attorney Bryan Abanto said investigators conducting a sweep of Adella’s home found $35,000 in cash and a watch belonging to Green.
Abanto also said he plans to present evidence showing that residue from a gunshot was found in Li’s garage, and that blood matching that of Green was found in both a car belonging to Li (a Mercedes wagon) and another belonging to Adella.
Prosecutors say Li killed Green with Bayat’s help because she was sick of his demands for money, and because she thought she could lose custody of her daughters.
“(Li and Green) had a contentious custody battle,” Abanto said, according to the AP.
“As he kept asking for more money, she got angry. She told her friends ‘He’s just about the money, not about the kids.'”
After Li was charged with murder she paid an extremely large bail bond — $35 million — allowing her to stay at her Bay Area mansion while wearing an ankle tag.
Li’s family made their millions in real estate construction in China and have significant assets in San Francisco.
The Financial Times reported that Li’s mother, Li Jihong, made her fortune in Beijing in the 1980s with companies owned by the People’s Liberation Army, which is the Chinese military.
Bayat, also charged with murder, remains in jail on the same bail.
CBS SF Bay Area reported that Green and Li met in 2009 when Li was a 23-year-old student at the University of San Francisco and Green was a 21-year-old aspiring chef.
“He was a high school football star from a blue-collar neighborhood while Li was rich and educated,” ABC 7 said.