Chilling texts read at Hillsborough heiress murder trial: ‘Green light’

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REDWOOD CITY (KRON) – “Green light.”

A San Mateo County Sheriff’s sergeant testified Tuesday about the chilling text messages heiress Tiffany Li allegedly sent to her new boyfriend as they griped about her ex-boyfriend.

Keith Green, 27, was the father of Li’s two young daughters. He had been asking the Chinese heiress to help pay for his living expenses after she kicked him out of her multimillion-dollar Hillsborough mansion, leaving him couch surfing to stay off the street.

The plot

Prosecutors said Li ordered a hit on Green. According to investigators, the night of April 28, 2016, she lured him into her mansion before her boyfriend pulled the trigger. Green was fatally shot once through the mouth.

Tiffany Li
FILE – In this Sept. 2019 file photo, Tiffany Li arrives at the courthouse in Redwood City, Calif. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar, File)

Li, 33, and her co-defendant, Kaveh Bayat, have both pleaded not guilty to murder charges.

While discussing how much money Green was asking for, Li texted Bayat, “F**k that. WTF,” according to testimony from Sheriff’s Sgt. Johnathan Sebring.

“He’s trying to get money again. What a little snake,” Bayat texted back. “That’s all he wants, it’s not about the kids.”

“OK. Green light,” Li texted back.

Green struggles to get by

A FaceTime video chat played in court revealed a solemn, personal 15-minute conversation Li had with Green during one of the last times they spoke to each other.

Green had called Li to tell her that he was going to move to Ohio. He said he was saddened to leave his children behind, but he felt like he had no choice. Green only worked a few hours a day for $15 an hour. The only place he could find a roof over his head in the San Francisco Bay Area was at “Cynthia’s sister’s house.”

Li is the heiress of a Chinese real estate fortune. She has remained out of jail in lieu of one of the largest bail amounts in U.S. history: $35 million. Her family’s fortune was amassed from real estate construction in China.

During the FaceTime video, Li told Green that “we both made mistakes,” that she just wanted to move on, and that she was happy with Bayat.

The conversation ended with Green hanging up on Li.

Keith Green and Tiffany Li

Wearing a conservative gray blazer, Li quietly listened Tuesday as she sat four feet away from her co-defendant. Bayat and Li never looked at each other.

In the courtroom gallery, Green’s supporters winced at times when the heiress appeared to lack empathy for Green.

“I don’t really think you care about anything but your own stuff,” Green told Li.

“It sucks, I don’t want to leave the kids. It’s been really, really bad, you know?” Green said.

Trail of text messages

In April 2016, Green was still communicating with Li to discuss how to handle custody of their children and finances.

On April 28, the date of the homicide, Li and Green exchanged text messages arraigning to meet near a pancake house restaurant so they could talk.

Green wrote to Li, “Thanks again for taking the time to meet me.”

Li replied, “All good. Just please don’t argue with me. Peaceful talk.”

But investigators said Li’s intentions were anything but “peaceful.”

Sgt. Sebring testified that Green’s cellphone pinpointed his movements the night he vanished. His iPhone’s location tracker determined that he was in Li’s Hillsborough mansion sometime between 10:30 p.m. – 11 p.m. By midnight, his cellphone shifted to an apartment complex in Burlingame. Sometime between 1 a.m. – 5 a.m., the phone moved again, this time to the side of a road where it was ultimately found.

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