It remains to be seen who — if anyone — will go on trial next for the 2016 murder of Keith Green, after a San Mateo County jury acquitted Green's ex-girlfriend Tiffany Li and deadlocked on her alleged accomplice Kaveh Bayat.
With the trial over and no one brought to justice, the family and friends of Green have posted an online petition asking that the San Mateo District Attorney's Office immediately "charge and prosecute" Bayat, to examine financial evidence in the case, and "look into possible jury tampering as the jury was not sequestered."
DA Steve Wagstaff sounded less than certain whether his office would bring Bayat to trial again when speaking to KRON 4 and other reporters following the November 15 verdict. "Generally I look for some different evidence, something different before we go and invest taxpayer money on an expensive and lengthy trial," Wagstaffe said, noting that the 6-6 jury split on the guilt or innocence of Bayat is "dramatically different" than if the split had been 11-1 or 10-2.
The defense attorneys in the case argued that the person who should be on trial for Green's murder is Olivier Adella, a mixed martial arts fighter and sometime bodyguard for Li and Bayat. Bayat's attorney John May tells KRON 4 this week that one of the reasons the jury acquitted Li and failed to convict Bayat was the abundance of evidence against Adella — including Green's blood in his car, and Green's Rolex watch that was found in Adella's apartment.
"It was a monumentally poor decision to make that plea agreement with Adella," May tells KRON 4 regarding the deal prosecutors made and are now trying to vacate after Adella disqualified himself as a witness in the Li-Bayat trial. "He’s a scary cat. Adella has been a drifter his entire adult life. He’s someone who looks for an easy mark, easy money, and just goes after it," May says.
Wagstaffe explained to reporters after the trial that the next step in the case will come when a judge decides next month whether to allow prosecutors to vacate Adella's plea agreement. If they don't, he could be set free.
May insists to KRON 4 that prosecutors found no evidence of a murder scene at Li's $9 million Hillsborough home, though during the trial we heard that there was blood evidence found in a sink in what was Bayat's "man cave" there. There was circumstantial evidence, including some possibly inadmissible cellphone location evidence, showing that Green may have been at Li's home the night he was murdered, and Adella's wife, Uta Bredenstein, testified at trial that Li admitted to her that she had driven with Green in her car the night of the murder.
Prosecutors put forward a theory that Green was fatally shot in Li's garage and transported to Adella's home where his body was put in Adella's trunk and then transported to a remote area in Healdsburg where it was ultimately found weeks later. Li's motive, according to the prosecution, was to put a stop to Green's requests for money and to not continue arguing over the custody of their two children. Prosecutors also alleged that Bayat, who moved in with Li after Green moved out and formerly been Green's friend, felt threatened by Green and also had motive himself.
Bayat and Li had been engaged when the murder occurred, but they are reportedly no longer together. Bayat has remained in jail since his arrest with Li in 2016 — and so has Adella — while Li was freed on $35 million bail about a year after the killing, in April 2017. She remained on house arrest with an ankle monitor until her acquittal this month.
As KRON 4 reports, none of the jurors has come forward in the case save for one, posting to Twitter, who said, "The key to this trial was the inability of the prosecution to prove guilt beyond reasonable doubt. I was in the jury room with 11 others. Our group was diligent in the examination of evidence." The jury deliberated for 12 days in the case, which was a record for San Mateo County.
Green's mother, Colleen Cudd, meanwhile, spoke to reporters after the verdict proclaiming that Li is "evil" and was absolutely responsible for her son's death.
Homicide victim Keith Green was the father of Tiffany Li’s children. Green’s mother felt he was not portrayed fairly during the trial, especially in regards to his dedication as a father, she said. @kron4news pic.twitter.com/qpSyeZGLVu
— Amy Larson (@AmyLarson25) November 16, 2019