Tiffany Li found not guilty, hung jury for Kaveh Bayat

Hillsborough Heiress Murder Trial

REDWOOD CITY (KRON) — During the 12th day of deliberations, a jury reached a verdict in the murder trial of the Hillsborough heiress accused of murdering her ex-boyfriend.

The jury has found Tiffany Li not guilty in the murder of Keith Green. She has been exonerated of all charges.

Jurors are deadlocked on Kaveh Bayat. A hung jury has been declared.

KRON4’s Digital reporter Amy Larson is in the courtroom Friday morning for the verdict announcement.

Larson says after Li’s not guilty verdict was announced, Li quietly wept in her chair, wiping away tears with a tissue.

It’s the first time she’s ever shown emotion in court, Larson said.

“You’re a free woman,” Li’s defense attorney Geoff Carr said to her.

After the announcement, Li’s attorney Carr spoke to the public about the trial.

“It has nothing to do with money,” he said referring to Li’s wealth. “It had to do with hard a** work done by three, or at least two, diligent lawyers and four diligent investigators ”

When asked what’s next for Li, Carr said she plans to travel and be a mother to her two children.

“She’s planning on traveling a bit because she’s delayed seeing some family in China,” he said. “She’s dedicating herself to getting back more in touch with her children.”

San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe says he’s disappointed that a jury did not convict Li.

Wagstaffe said he could not fault jurors, who gave their “heart and soul” over 12 days of deliberations.

Keith Green and Tiffany Li
Keith Green and Tiffany Li

Prosecutors argued that Tiffany Li, 33, orchestrated the killing of Keith Green, 27, after she became involved in a love triangle and felt bitter about Green repeatedly asking her for money. Green was the father of Li’s two young daughters.

Li and her boyfriend, Kaveh Bayat, are co-defendants, charged with first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder. 

The pair was on trial together, facing possible life sentences if the jury returned with guilty verdicts.

Li’s family made a fortune in real estate construction in China and she posted an astonishing $35 million bail that has allowed her to stay in her Hillsborough mansion during the trial. Bayat remains in jail on $35 million bail.

Tiffany Li and Kaveh Bayat

TIMELINE: Hillsborough heiress Tiffany Li murder trial

Green disappeared the night of April 28, 2016.

His body was found nearly two weeks later in a field in Sonoma County.

He had been last seen meeting with Li to discuss custody of their children. The last record of Green communicating with anyone was a text message he sent to Li, telling her that he had arrived in the Millbrae Pancake House’s parking lot to talk to her.

Prosecutors allege Li ordered a hit on Green. According to investigators, the night he disappeared, she lured him back to her mansion before her boyfriend pulled the trigger. Green was fatally shot once through the mouth. A murder weapon was never found.

Li’s lawyers have maintained since delivering opening statements that the real killer is the couple’s body guard and close friend: Olivier Adella.

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

Adella was expected to testify that the pair paid him thousands of dollars to dispose of Green’s body. But since he violated his plea deal by contacting a defense witness over Instagram, he wound up in handcuffs and was thrown out as a witness. It’s unknown if prosecutors will seek murder charges against Adella, but he is currently behind bars on no bail.

Prosecutors allege that after killing Green, Li and Bayat drove the body to Adella’s Burlingame apartment building. Adella later told prosecutors that the couple ordered him to “take out the trash,” meaning drive the body north and hide it somewhere that would throw off investigators.

KRON4 and ABC7 obtained 75-page transcripts of an interview San Mateo County Sheriff’s detectives conducted with Li on May 4, 2016. It was six days after Green was slain, and seven days before his body was found in a Sonoma County field. Li and Bayat were arrested May 21.

READ: Detectives interview Tiffany Li

According to the transcript, Li told detectives that Green had attempted to “sell” his custody rights of their children to Li’s wealthy family, for $20 million each.

“When we first broke up, he asked each kid $20 million. He asked my mom. And my mom’s like, you’re ridiculous,” Li said. Green later asked for far less money, she said, but bitter feelings following their breakup made Li want to cut Green off from her wealth, according to the transcript.

That is exactly what Bayat wanted, prosecutors said.

Green and Li met around 2009 when he was 21 and she was 23. Their relationship became strained when Green cheated on Li with other women, according to a FaceTime conversation played in court.

Bayat’s friend told detectives that Li met Bayat through Green when they were at a nightclub together. When Li expressed interest in Bayat, he told her that she had to break up with Green before he would be with her. In October of 2015, Green moved out of the nine-million-dollar Hillsborough mansion and Bayat moved in.

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