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  • Santa Cruz Sentinel, Shmuel Thaler / AP Photo

    Alix Tichelman’s parents Bart and Leslie Tichelman and her sister Monica Tichelman, right, leave the Santa Cruz Superior Court after Alix Tichelmans's arraignment on Wednesday, July 16, 2014, in Santa Cruz, Calif. Tichelman, faces manslaughter charges in the death last November of Forrest Hayes, a Google executive after she walked away from him when he overdosed on heroin on his yacht.

  • Santa Cruz Sentinel, Shmuel Thaler, Pool / AP Photo

    Alix Tichelman, second from left, stands next to her public defender Athena Reis as she is arraigned in Santa Cruz County Superior Court on Wednesday, July 16, 2014, in Santa Cruz, Calif. Tichelman, faces manslaughter charges in the death last November of Forrest Hayes, a Google executive after she walked away from him when he overdosed on heroin on his yacht.

  • Santa Cruz Sentinel, Shmuel Thaler, Pool / AP Photo

    Alix Tichelman looks back toward her family after her arraignment in Santa Cruz County Superior Court on Wednesday, July 16, 2014, in Santa Cruz, Calif. Tichelman, faces manslaughter charges in the death last November of Forrest Hayes, a Google executive after she walked away from him when he overdosed on heroin on his yacht.

  • Courtesy of the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office / AP Photo

    This photo provided Thursday, July 10, 2014 by the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office, shows Alix Tichelman after her arrest on a battery charge, Sept. 6, 2013. Tichelman, the high-priced prostitute charged in the overdose death of a Google executive aboard a yacht in California had searched online for how to legally defend herself after giving a lethal dose of heroin, police in California said Thursday.

  • NorthFulton.com, Jonathan Copsey / AP Photo

    This undated photo provided by NorthFulton.com shows Dean Riopelle, 53, who died of a heroin overdose in September 2013 in Milton, Ga., about two months before Google executive Forrest Hayes died of an overdose on his yacht. On Thursday, July 10, 2014, Georgia authorities said they are re-examining the death of Riopelle who was also seeing Alix Tichelman, charged in the overdose death of the Google executive in California.

  • Rich Pedroncelli / AP Photo

    A car sits in the driveway of the Folsom, Calif., house that is listed as the residence of Bart Tichelman, father of Alix Tichelman, who has been charged in the death of Google Inc., executive Forrest Hayes, Thursday, July 10, 2014. Alix Tichelman, 26, was arraigned in Santa Cruz County Superior Court, Wednesday, for the November 2013 death of Hayes, 51. No one answered the door at the two-story home where a neighbor said Tichelman occasionally frequented.

  • Santa Cruz Sentinel, Shmuel Thaler / AP Photo

    Alix Tichelman, left, of Folsom, Calif., confers with public defender Diane August during her arraignment in Santa Cruz Superior Court Wednesday, July 9, 2014, in Santa Cruz, Calif. Tichelman, an alleged upscale prostitute, is facing manslaughter charges for the November 2013 death of Forrest Hayes, a Google executive. Tichelman, who is also facing drug and prostitution charges, is being held on $1.5 million bail.

Attorney: Woman had no reason to kill Google exec

Published: Wednesday, Jul. 16, 2014 - 12:07 am
Last Modified: Thursday, Jul. 17, 2014 - 11:02 am

A woman accused by police of being a high-priced prostitute and abandoning a Google executive after shooting him up with a fatal dose of heroin would never have wanted him to die because he was paying her well, a defense attorney said Wednesday.

"There was no intent to harm or injure Mr. Hayes," said Larry Biggam, whose Santa Cruz firm has been appointed to represent defendant Alix Tichelman. "Why would she? He was a lucrative source of income to her."

As her parents watched quietly from the front row of a courtroom packed with media, Tichelman, 26, pleaded not guilty to prostitution, drug use and manslaughter in the death of Forrest Hayes, 51.

Her eyes were often closed during the proceedings, but she told Judge Timothy Volkmann "yes sir" when asked if she agreed to waive her right to a preliminary hearing within 10 days.

Hayes was found dead by the captain of his 50-foot yacht Escape last November. But the circumstances of his death were not widely known until last week, when Santa Cruz police arrested Tichelman after luring her 160 miles south from Folsom with a fake story about a client who wanted to hire her at an upscale resort.

Police detective Laurel Shonfield said video surveillance from the yacht shows Tichelman injecting Hayes with heroin "and doing nothing to render aid when he overdoses," according to court records.

Tichelman has wealthy parents and dual citizenship in the U.S. and Canada, and was preparing to move out of California when she was arrested, Shonfield said.

At the hearing, Judge Volkmann denied Tichelman's request to release her on her own recognizance and kept her bail at $1.5 million.

Her attorneys said she has been unfairly denounced in the high-profile case.

"This case is extremely sad. There are five kids without a father today. But to demonize and sensationalize and totally blame Alix Tichelman for his death is misplaced, unfair and simply wrong," Biggam said after the hearing. "This case is about two adults who engaged in mutual, consensual drug usage in the context of a sexual encounter initiated and encouraged by Mr. Hayes."

Meanwhile, police in Milton, Georgia, have reopened their investigation into the September 2013 overdose death of Tichelman's former boyfriend Dean Riopelle, 53, the owner of a popular Atlanta music venue. Police said a panicked Tichelman called police, saying her boyfriend had overdosed on something and wouldn't respond.

She has not been charged in the case, and an autopsy report listed Riopelle's death as an accidental overdose of heroin, alcohol and oxycodone.

Santa Cruz Deputy Police Chief Steve Clark said detectives are planning a trip to Milton to work with authorities there on portions of the investigation.

It was not clear how long Tichelman might have been involved in prostitution, though police in Santa Cruz say she had many clients in the wealthy Silicon Valley.

Read more articles by MARTHA MENDOZA





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