Keith Green Case: Defense for Hillsborough heiress, boyfriend says wrong people are on trial

HILLSBOROUGH, Calif. (KGO) -- In an extremely revealing day of opening statements, the defense team for accused Hillsborough heiress Tiffany Li and her boyfriend Kaveh Bayat promised to present extensive evidence to prove that Olivier Adella, the man who plead guilty to dumping Keith Green's body in Sonoma County, acted alone in the murder of Green, with no direction from Li or Bayat.

Adella was supposed to be a key witness in the trial. But, last week he was sent back to jail for breaking conditions of his plea deal.

MURDER MYSTERY TIMELINE: The disappearance of Millbrae resident Keith Green

"They have the wrong people on trial, who they should be pursuing is Mr. Olivier Adella, that's been clear from day one. How they're pursuing him will be up to the District Attorney's office," said May Mar, defense lawyer for Tiffany Li who said she delivered one of the longest opening statements in her 29-year career.

Mar explained that she wanted to prepare the jury for the extensive circumstantial evidence that they will hear throughout the trial. Mar spent almost three hours previewing text message exchanges between Adella and two other friends that the defense argues colluded with him to harm Green.

"That it was perhaps a kidnap gone awry, that obviously this man was in a trunk with the emergency latch removed, among other things," said Mar referring to Green, whose blood was found in Adella's car and home.

The prosecution also presented their roadmap for the case against Li and Bayat, explaining that they will lean heavily on technical evidence including the contents of several phones seized from various parties during the investigation.

Lawyer Bryan Abanto said text messages prove a pattern of "lies and deception" from Li and Bayat leading up to Green's murder. The prosecution also argued that Li lured Green to her Hillsborough mansion where he was shot in the garage by Bayat, with a single bullet through the mouth.

In Abanto's opening statement, he painted a picture of a contentious relationship between Li and Green, full of anger and greed.

To counter, the defense told the jury that Li and Green had settled their custody issues, 10 days before he disappeared. The defense also previewed two recorded phone conversations between Li and Green, and Li and Green's girlfriend.

In the conversations, Li states that she wants Green to be a part of the children's lives and that Green was planning to move to Ohio.

RELATED: Keith Green Murder Case: Hillsborough heiress Tiffany Li, out on $35M bail, heading to trial 3 years later

No murder weapon has been recovered in the case nor are there any eyewitnesses to the crime. It was also revealed that Green's body was so badly decomposed when it was found that it is unclear when or how he died.

Dozens of witnesses will be called to the stand over the next few weeks. The trial is expected to last until mid-November.

For the latest on this case go here.
Copyright © 2021 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.