Hillsborough heiress murder trial: Defense rests in case against Tiffany Li, boyfriend

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. (KGO) -- The defense has concluded its case in the Hillsborough heiress murder trial.

Tiffany Li and her boyfriend, Kaveh Bayat, are on trial in San Mateo County Superior Court for the 2016 murder of Keith Green, the father of Li's two children. Prosecutors say Li lured Green to her Hillsborough mansion where he was shot by Bayat. Defense lawyers say Olivier Adella killed Green in a botched kidnapping. Adella was friends with Li and Bayat and had worked as Bayat's bodyguard and personal trainer.

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Li's defense rested its case Friday. Bayat's lawyers had planned to call one additional witness to the stand on Tuesday but they announced at a hearing on Monday that they plan to call no other witnesses. The prosecution plans to call rebuttal witnesses to the stand on Tuesday.

During a brief session in open court on Monday, San Mateo County Superior Court Judge Robert Foiles declined motions by lawyers for Li and Bayat to dismiss the case or declare a mistrial based on the conduct of Adella, who had contacted a defense witness. Foiles noted that since Adella is no longer a witness in the case, his contact with impeachment witnesses, including his former girlfriend, would not harm the defense's case. The judge added that not having Adella as a witness was an advantage for the defense. But one of Bayat's attorneys, James Thompson, told Foiles that he disagreed that it was an advantage for his side.

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"I have never seen a case like this before when a witness is not called but the prosecution attempts to put forth his narrative anyway," Thompson said.

Li attorney Geoff Carr called Adella a "grifter" and said that theft was his motivation for his actions.

After a request from defense attorneys, Foiles agreed to admonish Green's supporters, including his mother, Colleen Cudd, to not speak of the case within earshot of the jury. Defense attorneys say Green's relatives and friends had said that they believe defense witnesses were "coached" and that their voices were loud enough to be heard by at least one alternate juror.

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Closing arguments in the case will likely be presented starting on Wednesday and could run over two days.The trial judge told jurors that deliberations could begin as soon as late on Thursday.

On Friday, jurors heard from the pathologist who conducted the autopsy on Green, Dr. Jay Chapman.. On cross examination, Chapman conceded that the Sonoma County Coroner's Office went against common practice by not retaining the part of Green's spine that prosecutors say was pierced by a bullet..The defense has expressed frustration over having to rely on photographs and not the bones themselves for its experts to examine. The pathologist maintained that Green was shot by a gun being fired in his mouth and that the bullet went through his spine.

Defense expert, forensic scientist Keith Inman, testified that there was no evidence that Keith Green ever bled in the garage of Li's HIllsborough mansion, where prosecutors say that Bayat shot him. He said that Green's blood was found on a drop on the running board of Li's Mercedes SUV but not anywhere inside the vehicle.

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On cross examination with Deputy District Attorney Bryan Abanto, Inman said that the blood spot on the running board would have been there only since it was last washed. Abanto noted in his question that Li had her cars washed every two weeks.

Prosecutors say Green's body was transferred from Li's Mercedes to Adella's car in a garage in a condo complex in Burlingame where Adella rented an apartment from Li. Inman noted that drops of blood were found in the garage where that body transfer allegedly took place. He said the blood was the result of dripping rather than someone being dragged.

Take a look at the latest stories and videos about the investigation into the death of Millbrae father Keith Green.
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