Kaveh Bayat walks free after all charges dropped in death of Keith Green

Hillsborough Heiress Murder Trial

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. (KRON) — The Hillsborough heiress murder case is essentially over as all three people accused in the death of Keith Green will be walking free by mid-January.

Millionaire Tiffany Li, 34, is currently traveling in China. Her body guard, Olivier Adella, is slated to be released from jail in a few weeks. And Li’s ex-fiance, Kaveh Bayat, walked free out of jail Thursday afternoon.

San Mateo County prosecutors announced during a Thursday morning hearing that they have decided to not put Bayat on trial for a second time.

After spending more than three years in jail for this case, he said he feels “happy” to be out.

Keith Green
Keith Green

Most of Green’s friends and family who attended the lengthy trial chose to not attend Thursday’s hearing.

One of Green’s close friends told KRON4, “I don’t think anybody wants to be in that courtroom and look at that dirtbag and watch his smiling face as he gets told he gets to go home.”

During the first trial, Bayat and Li were co-murder defendants. A jury found Li not guilty, and deadlocked 6-6 over Bayat. District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe spent weeks interviewing jurors to find out why they felt there was not enough evidence to prove Li and Bayat’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Green, 27, dated Li for six years and they had two children together.

Two jurors from the Li and Bayat trial showed up to Thursday’s hearing telling KRON4 they were hoping and expecting that the DA would decide to retry Bayat.

“I just think there are two murderers who are free today and it feels like we didn’t do our job well enough in some way,” one of the two jurors told KRON4 in tears.

Wagstaffe said he and his team of prosecutors are still certain that Li and Bayat conspired and carried out the homicide.

“As of today, there will be nobody held accountable for Keith Green’s murder,” Wagstaffe said.

“We thought our evidence was sufficient to prove they killed Keith Green. A jury told us otherwise,” he said. “I absolutely believe there are no other suspects out there.”

Green’s body was found in a remote Sonoma County field on May 11, 2016. A coroner testified that someone had forced a gun into his mouth before fatally shooting him. Prosecutors said Bayat shot Green in Li’s Hillsborough mansion before they delivered the body to Adella’s Burlingame apartment. Adella admitted to investigators that he dumped the body.

Ultimately, the jury decided that the evidence was not enough.

“When a jury rules, that’s justice, no matter what the outcome is. So I accept that. On the other side of it, for Keith Green’s family, no justice was achieved here. I’m disappointed that my office was not able to deliver that justice, but we can only work with the evidence that we had,” Wagstaffe said.

Tiffany Li / Oct. 2019
Tiffany Li / Oct. 2019

After weeks of trying to find new witnesses and evidence, prosecutors were not able to dig up enough to warrant a second trial and calling for a second jury, he said.

When prosecutors informed the victim’s mother that they were dropping charges against Bayat, she was emotionally “frustrated, angry (and) a variety of other words that can be used,” Wagstaffe said.

Green’s mother, Colleen Cudd, told KRON4 that she was feeling “disgusted, horrified for the next family this happens to.”

Because Bayat’s first trial was declared a mistrial, and all charges were ultimately dropped, the District Attorney’s Office could put Bayat back on trial again at any time, if new, compelling evidence surfaces.

Bayat’s defense attorney, John May, said Bayat could be put on trial “100 times for this crime, and he would still be not guilty.”

May added that Bayat is feeling relieved and ready to move on with his life.

Kaveh Bayat, Tiffany Li, and Olivier Adella
Kaveh Bayat, Tiffany Li, and Olivier Adella


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