Thursday 21 November 2019

Murder accused raises record £28m bail

Tiffany Li is posting 35 million dollars in bail for her release pending trial (San Mateo County Sheriff's Office/AP)
Tiffany Li is posting 35 million dollars in bail for her release pending trial (San Mateo County Sheriff's Office/AP)

A California woman accused of murdering the father of her two children is preparing for release from jail after posting an unprecedented 35 million US dollar (£28 million) bail raised by friends, family and business associates with ties to China.

Tiffany Li, 31, is backed by a group that raised 4 million dollars (£3.2 million) in cash and pledged 62 million dollars (£50 million) in San Francisco Bay Area property.

California courts require twice the bail amount if property is used instead of cash.

Li must remain on round-the-clock electronic monitoring.

Her attorney Geoff Carr said Li and her mother were born in China, where the mother was financially successful in the construction industry. Mr Carr said Li and her mother are naturalised US citizens.

Mr Carr said all defendants except those accused of death penalty-eligible crimes are entitled to "reasonable bail".

The 35 million dollar bail is the highest ever in San Mateo County's history, an official said.

Li denies directing her boyfriend and another man to kill Keith Green, 27, and dispose of his body last year. Prosecutors say she feared losing custody of her young children to Mr Green.

A friend of the victim said she was disappointed and shocked that Li was able to pay for her freedom.

"Nothing about this seems right," said Angela Dunn, who said Mr Green stayed at her house for six months after he and Li split. "It's very difficult for all of us, especially Keith's mom."

San Mateo District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said he was concerned Li is a flight risk and was disappointed the judge did not set the bail even higher. His office had asked for a 100 million dollar (£80 million) bail.

"If convicted she faces the rest of her life in prison," Mr Wagstaffe said. "That's plenty enough incentive to flee back to her native China."

Mr Carr said he expects Li to be freed pending her murder trial in September. Li will be required to turn over her passports, wear an electronic monitor and remain under house arrest.

Mr Green's body was found on May 11 in Sonoma County, about 80 miles north of where he was supposed to meet Li.

Li was arrested several days later in the multimillion-dollar home she shared with her children in Hillsborough, a suburb 20 miles south of San Francisco.

The two men were also arrested in May and remain in custody without bail. Mr Carr said their lawyers did not ask for bail because they do not have the resources to post a multimillion-dollar bail bond like Li.

Mr Carr said the people who posted Li's bail believe she is innocent and will not flee. If she does go on the run, the court can confiscate the property and cash.


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