Murder suspect raises unprecedented $35m bail via friends

2017-04-06 21:20
Tiffany Li. (San Mateo County Sheriff's Office via AP)

Tiffany Li. (San Mateo County Sheriff's Office via AP)

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Redwood City - A California woman accused of killing the father of her two children is expected to be released from jail on Thursday after posting an unprecedented $35m bail raised by wealthy friends, family and business associates with ties to China.

Tiffany Li, 31, is backed by a consortium of people tied to her mother who have raised $4m cash and pledged $62m in San Francisco Bay Area property. California courts require twice the bail amount if property is used instead of cash.

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

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

The $35m bail is the highest to date in San Mateo County's history, a county official said.

San Mateo District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said he's concerned Li is a flight risk and is disappointed the judge didn't set the bail even higher. His office asked for a $100m bail.

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

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

Li has pleaded not guilty to charges she directed 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 Green.

Green's body was found May 11 in Sonoma County, about 120km 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 of mansions and large houses 30km south of San Francisco. The two men were also arrested in May and remained jailed without bail.

Carr says their lawyers didn't ask for bail because they don't have the resources to post a multimillion-dollar bail bond like Li did.

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

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