HILLSBOROUGH, Calif. (KGO) -- The prosecution's former star witness, Olivier Adella, was in court Tuesday as deliberations in the murder case against Hillsborough heiress Tiffany Li and her boyfriend, Kaveh Bayat, entered its ninth day.
Li and Bayat are on trial in San Mateo County Superior Court for the 2016 killing of Keith Green, the father of Li's two children. Prosecutors say that Li lured Green to her Hillsborough mansion, where he was shot by Bayat. Defense lawyers maintain that Green was killed by Olivier Adella in a botched kidnapping. Adella and his wife were friends with the couple and Adella had worked as Bayat's bodyguard and trainer.
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Adella was jailed in September and prosecutors decided not to use him as a witness after he contacted a defense witness.
Adella appeared before Judge Robert Foiles Tuesday morning. After meeting with Deputy District Attorney Bryan Abanto and Adella's attorney, Dek Ketchum, in the judge's chambers, Foiles told the attorneys in open court to be back in court on Dec. 12 and to submit paperwork to him at least two days in advance of that hearing.
Adella is charged with murder and being an accessory after the fact but his fate is in limbo. No one expects him to be tried for murder since it would contradict the prosecution's theory in their case against Li and Bayat. Abanto told jurors that the evidence proves that Li and Bayat are the only two people with a motive and opportunity to kill Green.
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Defense lawyers presented a number of expert witnesses to punch holes in much of the evidence presented by Abanto. Li attorney Geoff Carr told jurors that Adella is a "grifter" who killed Green in a kidnapping gone bad. One of Bayat's two attorneys, John May, called Adella a "monster," reinforcing Carr's description of how Green likely was killed.
Abanto countered that it makes no sense to kidnap a poor man noting that at the time of Green's murder he was sleeping in the living room in the apartment of a family friend. He said that although Adella had his faults, he was only guilty of disposing of Green's body, not of his murder.
"I guess the Pope wasn't free that day," Abanto said referring to the couple choice of Adella to dispose of Green's body.
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In an exclusive interview with ABC7 News I-Team reporter Dan Noyes in 2017, Adella said the couple offered him $50,000 to kill Green but he refused. On the night Green was murdered, Adella said that Li and Bayat showed up in the garage of his apartment building with Green's body in the front passenger seat of Li's Mercedes SUV. He said Li was driving and Bayat was holding Green's body in a seated position from a rear passenger seat. Adella said Bayat had a gun and that he reluctantly agreed to dispose of Green's body out of concern for his life and the safety of his family. He said he was also concerned the couple may try to pin the murder on him if he didn't cooperate.
About 4 p.m. on Tuesday, lawyers were called back to the court after jurors had submitted a question to the judge. The judge met with the attorneys in his chambers and said that he would disclose information about the question in open court on Wednesday.
Tuesday marked the start of the third full week of deliberations in the trial. Jurors filed out of the San Mateo County Courthouse shortly after 4:30 p.m. still not ready to reach a verdict. Presumably, the jurors will have their question answered during deliberations Wednesday.
Ed Walsh ABC7 News Bay Area @EdWalshNews 23m #breaking Lawyers in the Hillsborough heiress murder trial were called back to court minutes ago after the jury had a question about evidence presented in the case. Jurors have been deliberating for 9 days in the case against Tiffany Li and Kaveh Bayat. @abc7newsbayarea
Take a look at the latest stories and videos about the death of Millbrae father Keith Green.
Hillsborough heiress murder trial update: Jury completes 9th day of deliberations in case against Tiffany Li, Kaveh Bayat
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