Bay Area Heiress Who Paid $66 Million Bail Found Not Guilty of Killing Ex-Boyfriend
By Carl Samson
November 19, 2019
Tiffany Li, the Californian property heiress charged with the
Li, 34, was accused of killing Keith Green, 27, the father of her two children, after a custody battle in 2016.
Green disappeared on April 28 of that year after meeting Li at a pancake restaurant in Millbrae.
About two weeks later, his body was found with a bullet on the neck in Sonoma County, about 80 miles (128 kilometers) away from the restaurant.
Li, a naturalized U.S. citizen, is the daughter of a rich family from China who reportedly made their fortune in real estate construction.
She and her then-boyfriend, Kaveh Bayat, 33, were arrested on suspicion of Green’s murder a week after his body was found.
Authorities believe that Green was killed in Li’s mansion in Hillsborough, an incorporated town in San Mateo County that happens to be one of America’s wealthiest communities, according to Bloomberg.
A third suspect, Olivier Adella, was arrested and charged with the dumping of Green’s body.
The case made international headlines in 2017 after Li posted a whopping $66 million bail — up from $35 million — in cash and assets, one of the largest in U.S. history, the Washington Post noted.
Prosecutor Bryan Abanto argued that Li had killed Green over the child custody lawsuit, as well as her “clear frustration” that led to “anger” about her former lover’s “constant request for money.”
On the other hand, Bayat’s alleged motive was his fear that Green and Li would get back together.
“That derailed the money train for Mr. Bayat as long as he (Green) was alive,” Abanto said, according to ABC 7.
Defense Attorney Geoff Carr told jurors that the case against Li was solely based on circumstantial, not factual, evidence. He believes it was Adella who killed Green.
“There seems to be more evidence of it being a failed kidnap than it being a murder. Something went wrong,” Carr said.
Li, who was acquitted of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder, hopes to spend time with her family in China.
“It had nothing to do with money, it had to do with hard work done by diligent lawyers,” Carr added.
Meanwhile, District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said that he respects the decision of the 12 San Mateo County jurors, who gave their “heart and soul” in the trial.
“We are disappointed with the verdicts, since obviously we believe the evidence supported holding Ms. Li accountable for the crimes,” Wagstaffe said.
The jury, however, deadlocked over Bayat’s case, with Superior Court Judge Robert Foiles declaring a mistrial, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
It’s also unclear whether Adella, who was Li and Bayat’s friend and bodyguard, would go on trial for murder.
Green’s mother, Colleen Cudd, is unconvinced of the jury’s verdict.
“She’s evil. She was evil to me, she was evil to my son, she was just evil,” Cudd told reporters, according to KRON 4. “She orchestrated all of this.”
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