A jury today (Nov. 15) found a Hillsborough real estate heiress innocent of killing the father of her two children in 2016 in an alleged conspiracy with her boyfriend.
Tiffany Li, 34, and her boyfriend, Kaveh Bayat, were charged with murder in the death of Keith Green.
The San Mateo County Superior Court jury deliberated for 11 days before returning the innocent verdict for Li.
After reading Li’s verdict, the jury returned to deliberations for Bayat.
Prosecutors said Li lured Green to her mansion in Hillsborough to discuss custody of their children. They say Bayat shot Green in the mouth and the two hired a friend to dispose of the body.
Prosecutors presented evidence that Green’s blood was found in Li’s Mercedes and gunshot residue was discovered in her garage.
Li’s attorneys argued that Green was killed in a botched kidnapping plot and that she had nothing to do with his death. She had settled the custody issues with her former boyfriend, they said.
The prosecution faced a setback earlier this month when its chief witness, Olivier Adella, was arrested on charges of contacting an ex-girlfriend and witness for the defense. Adella was expected to testify that Li and Bayat asked him to dispose of Green’s body, but prosecutors did not call him as a witness
Green disappeared on April 28, 2016, after he went to meet Li at the Millbrae Pancake House. He had left his wallet and car keys at home and had only his cellphone, which a hiker found in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park the next day.
He remained missing until May 11, when his body was discovered down an embankment north of Healdsburg. Dental records were used to identify him.
Li and Bayat were arrested at their home in Hillsborough about 10 days later.
She had been under home electronic monitoring after posting $35 million bail, which she paid with $4 million in cash and $62 million in property bonds posted by her family in China.
Bayat remains in jail on $35 million bail.
— From staff and wire reports
Timeline of the Tiffany Li and Keveh Bayat murder case
April 28, 2016 — The murder victim, Keith Green, meets with Tiffany Li at the Millbrae Pancake House.
April 29, 2016 — Green is reported missing by his roommate. The sheriff’s office says he left his wallet and car at home, and only had his cellphone with him.
May 11, 2016 — A Sonoma County deputy sheriff working with a homeless outreach team finds Green’s decomposing body down an embankment off a dirt road near Highway 101 north of Healdsburg in Sonoma County. The area where the body was found is about 80 miles north of the restaurant where Smith met with Green on April 28.
May 2016 — The Sonoma County Coroner uses dental records to identify Green’s body. The coroner also discovers that Green died following a gunshot to the head. Once they discovered it was Green, the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office opened a homicide investigation.
May 20, 2016 — San Mateo County Sheriff’s investigators arrest Olivier Adella during a raid of his home in the 1800 block of Trousdale Drive in Burlingame. Investigators say Adella was asked by Li and her boyfriend, Keveh Bayat, to dispose of Green’s body.
May 21, 2016 — San Mateo County Sheriff’s investigators execute a search warrant at Li’s home in the 600 block of W. Santa Inez Avenue in Hillsborough. During the search, deputies arrest Li and Bayat.
April 6, 2017 — Li is released from the San Mateo County Jail after posting $35 million bail. The high bail was because prosecutors were concerned she would flee to China. Her release startled and angered the victim’s family and friends. Her release drew national news attention.
Feb. 22, 2018 — Adella accepts a plea bargain and pleads no contest to a charge that he disposed of Green’s body in Sonoma County. As part of the deal, he was supposed to testify against Li and Bayat at trial.
March 16, 2018 — Green’s mother, Colleen Cudd, files a civil suit against Li, Bayat and Adella over the murder.
September 2019 — Adella sends a threatening message to another witness in the case. Adella, who had been released from jail in 2018, appears in court on Sept. 12 and is returned to jail. The trial is delayed.
Sept. 16, 2019 — District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe drops the plea deal with Adella. Adella, who was considered the prosecution’s star witness, is scratched as a witness for the trial.
Sept. 23, 2019 — Opening statements in the murder trial of Li and Bayat in San Mateo County Superior Court in Redwood City.
Nov. 15, 2019 — Jury acquits Li and continues deliberating about the charges against Bayat.