NEW DELHI: Tyrese Haspil personal assistant of tech CEO Fahim Saleh allegedly beheaded his boss in New York in July 2020 in a ‘crime of passion‘, according to his attorney’s argument on Friday.
Haspil’s defense claims that he was desperate to conceal his theft of hundreds of thousands of dollars from Saleh and feared that his French girlfriend, Marine Chaveuz, would leave him if she discovered the truth.This desperation allegedly drove Haspil to force his way into Saleh’s $2.4 million Lower East Side apartment, Taser him, and then fatally stab him, according to New York Post.
Haspil’s defense attorney, Sam Roberts, is attempting to persuade the 12-person jury that Haspil was suffering from “extreme emotional disturbance,” which led to the killing. Prosecutors allege that Haspil, worried about being “abandoned” if Chaveuz learned of the $400,000 he had stolen, believed his only options were “suicide or homicide,” and chose the latter.
Fahim Saleh, the CEO of Gokada, a Nigeria-based motorbike startup, and a venture capitalist, discovered that $90,000 had gone missing from a company spending account in January 2020. He confronted his assistant, Tyrese Haspil, about the missing funds, which were eventually traced back to Haspil himself.
Despite the gravity of the situation, Saleh chose not to pursue legal action against Haspil, whom he considered his protégé. Instead, he allowed Haspil to repay the stolen money through a payment plan. However, Haspil continued to embezzle funds from Saleh’s company, this time using a Paypal account, but was caught once again.
Prosecutors claim that with the threat of prosecution looming, Haspil meticulously researched and planned how to commit the murder and evade detection. Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Linda Ford told the court, “Over this period of time, he was planning not only to commit the homicide but to get away with it …To cover it up and how to erase his debt and prevent Fahim Saleh from testifying in criminal proceedings.”
According to prosecutors, Haspil, wearing a mask, attacked Saleh with a Taser, stabbed him, and then dismembered the body a day later.
Despite his efforts to clean up the crime scene, Haspil failed to remove a single “anti-felon disk” identification tag, which was recovered and matched to the Taser that Haspil had ordered to his Brooklyn address a month before the murder.
Saleh’s body was discovered by his cousin, who found his torso exposed in the living room alongside construction bags when she went to check on him after not hearing from him for several days. Despite his alleged dedication to Chaveuz, Haspil was seen two days after the murder with a mystery woman in Noho, buying birthday balloons and allegedly using his deceased boss’ money to purchase luxury items for his new girlfriend at an Airbnb birthday party.
Haspil has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder charges, which carry a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years to life in prison if convicted. His attorneys hope that the jury will instead convict him of manslaughter due to his “emotionally disturbed” defense, which carries a lighter sentence of five to 25 years.
Roberts argued that Haspil’s life has been “marked by trauma,” stemming from a difficult childhood marked by years of abuse from his schizophrenic mother, who allegedly kept him locked in a bedroom and beat him. Roberts claimed that while Haspil’s actions “might not be rational to us,” from his perspective, “in his shoes, at that time, it made some sort of sense to him.”

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