Monday 18 November 2019

Prostitute pleads guilty in drug death of Google boss

Alix Tichelman: sentenced to six years in prison
Alix Tichelman: sentenced to six years in prison

Martha Mendoza in Santa Cruz

A CALIFORNIA prostitute charged with killing a Google executive with an overdose of heroin aboard his yacht has pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and administering drugs.

A Santa Cruz County Superior Court judge sentenced Alix Tichelman to six years in prison, bringing a sudden and unexpected conclusion to a tawdry case that grabbed attention coast to coast in the US.

Tichelman injected Forrest Timothy Hayes with heroin in November 2013, then left without seeking help when he passed out on the yacht, authorities said. Mr Hayes had hired her several times before, and they were taking drugs and having sex the night he died, authorities said.

Defence attorney Larry Biggam said Tichelman (28) was relieved to have the court proceedings behind her, and she is expected to serve three years. She will be credited for the year she has already served in jail.

"It was an accidental overdose between two consenting adults," Mr Biggam said.

The high-end call girl was arrested eight months after Mr Hayes' death. Santa Cruz police said a surveillance video at the Santa Cruz harbour showed the woman gather her belongings, casually step over Mr Hayes' body, finish a glass of wine and lower a blind before leaving the yacht the night before the body was discovered.

The video also showed Tichelman panicking and attempting to revive Mr Hayes as he slipped into unconsciousness before leaving the yacht, Santa Cruz Deputy District Attorney Rafael Vazquez said.

"There was an obvious reaction that showed she didn't intend to kill," Mr Vazquez said.

The hearing yesterday was scheduled to set additional proceedings, and Tichelman's plea surprised Mr Vazquez.

Mr Vazquez began by submitting a revised complaint specifying that Tichleman's manslaughter charge was to be involuntary rather than the more severe voluntary. Then Tichelman's attorney told the court his client intended to plead guilty to all counts.

Mr Vazquez said the charges were filed over the objections of Mr Hayes's family, who feared a public trial would further embarrass a wife and children traumatised by exposure of the Google executive's double life. Mr Hayes was the father of five, and two of his children are in primary school.

"They just wanted this to go away," the prosecutor said. "But we had a duty to pursue the case."

Mr Vazquez said none of Mr Hayes' family attended the hearing on Tuesday, but an attorney representing them did. Christine McGuire, a Santa Cruz lawyer representing the family, didn't return a phone call after the hearing.

Irish Independent

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