Trial opens for real estate heiress accused of murder

Defense lawyers for real estate heiress Tiffany Li say prosecutors have the wrong people standing trial for murder. They say Tiffany Li arrived at the Redwood City courthouse Monday happy to finally have her day in court. 

“She would definitely like for everyone to see that she’s innocent of these charges. And so for that reason, yes, she is pleased,” said May Mar, a defense lawyer representing Li.

In a lengthy opening statement stretching from morning to afternoon, Mar painted a methodical picture of events.

She says circumstantial evidence proves Tiffany Li and boyfriend Kaveh Bayat had nothing to do with the April 28, 2016 murder of Keith Green. Li and Green were high school sweethearts, who had two children together. But their relationship soured, and prosecutors contend Li, fearing she’d lose her daughters in a custody battle, paid Olivier Adella to killer her ex.

“We believe we have the right people to hold accountable for this murder,” said San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaff.

But defense lawyers say the circumstantial evidence points to Adella as the guilty party. Blood was found in his car, and at his apartment parking space. And cell phone text messages and tracking show Adella going to Sonoma County where Green’s body was dumped after being shot in the head, then returning to the Peninsula.

“The prosecution is prosecuting this case. They got the wrong people on trial,” said John May, a defense attorney representing Kaveh Bayat. Added Geoff Carr, the lead defense attorney for Li, “…The police first thought and held with that view until Mr. Adella started to give them a fairly tail that now has come to its inglorious end with him being arrested as a liar.”

Despite the long opening statement by one defense attorney, and the prosecution only getting through one witness on the stand, the attorneys agree this case is on track to wrap up before Thanksgiving.