The murder suspect in the death of Cash App inventor Bob Lee has pleaded not guilty.
The tech entrepreneur accused of murdering Cash App inventor Bob Lee in an incident that sparked safety concerns in San Francisco has pleaded not guilty to murder.
According to prosecutors, Nima Momeni, 38, attacked Mr Lee, 43, in the early hours of April 4 in the Californian city.
Using CCTV, they claim Mr Momeni planned the murder as he traveled to a remote location.
Mr Momeni was ordered held by the judge ahead of his trial.
His lawyer, Paula Canny, argued against the prosecution’s strategy, claiming that the CCTV evidence shows little.
The San Francisco Standard stated that on the night of the incident, CCTV footage showed Mr Lee strolling down an empty lane, perhaps asking for aid.
According to the publication, he is seen walking towards a parked car and lifting off his shirt to reveal his wound, but the vehicle drives away before the software entrepreneur falls to the ground.
Mr Lee was discovered unconscious in the Rincon Hill neighborhood with two stab wounds to his chest by police. He passed away later in the hospital.
Prosecutors did not speculate on a motive, but claimed DNA evidence threw the defense’s claim of self-defense into question.
A witness told police that Mr Momeni questioned Mr Lee about his sister the night before the stabbing, according to court filings.
Prosecutors said he questioned Mr Lee if his sister was “doing drugs or anything inappropriate.” Mr. Lee “had to reassure [Mr Momeni] that nothing inappropriate had occurred.”
Mr Momeni’s sister, Khazar Elyassnia, is married to a prominent plastic surgeon in the Bay Area, and both attended the court on Thursday.
Mr Lee went to Mrs Elyassnia’s flat shortly after midnight. Mr Momeni had already arrived, and CCTV shows Mr Lee and Mr Momeni departing together in Mr Momeni’s BMW around 30 minutes before the murder.
Mr Momeni was caught drink driving in 2004, and was charged with a misdemeanor for carrying a switchblade in 2011, according to criminal records, but the case was dismissed after he accepted a plea agreement.
Mr Momeni’s IT consultancy business was floundering, according to public documents, and associates described him as an introvert, according to the Wall Street Journal.
According to the San Francisco Standard, Ms Canny stated that Mr Momeni was not a US citizen and threatened deportation to Iran.
Before police stated that the culprit was known to him, Mr Lee’s death fueled existing anxieties and criticism of increased crime in the city.