The personal assistant accused of killing and gruesomely dismembering his former tech CEO boss in the victim's multimillion-dollar Lower East Side apartment over the summer has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder.
Tyrese Haspil was indicted for allegedly murdering CEO Fahim Saleh in his apartment July 13, a day before his body was found. No new details about the case were shared in court Tuesday. The defense agreed to prosecutors' request for a DNA swab and a follow-up hearing was scheduled for mid-January.
Prosecutors have said they believe the motive to be financial, accusing the 21-year-old Haspil, of Brooklyn, of stealing more than $50,000 from Saleh. The indictment unsealed Tuesday explains those allegations further.
It says Saleh "was a witness to a crime committed on a prior occasion and the death was caused for the purpose of preventing the intended victim's testimony in any criminal action or proceeding whether or not such action or proceeding had been commenced." The indictment didn't indicate the alleged "crime" was anything other than the alleged theft -- and it charged three separate counts of second-degree grand larceny against Haspil to drive home that point.
Haspil allegedly stole more than $50,000 from Saleh via Intuit and PayPal transfers beginning in 2017. The PayPal transfers continued until four days after Saleh died. The killing, in and of itself, was gruesome, the before and after documented by surveillance and witness accounts.
Surveillance footage showed Saleh getting on the elevator at his building on East Houston Street that July day, followed by a suspect in dark clothing, police sources said. Saleh was attacked as soon as he got off on the seventh floor, which opened right into his unit, according to sources. His body wasn't discovered until the following day when the relative went to check on him.
Saleh's head, arms and legs had been cut off, and body parts had been found in bags. An electric saw was near the body and still plugged into the electric socket, but there wasn't much blood at the scene. Investigators believe the welfare check interrupted the dismemberment and the killer slipped out of a service exit.
Police were able to identify Haspil by anti-felon identification cards that were spewed like confetti in Saleh's apartment after Saleh was stunned with a Taser, the law enforcement sources said.
Haspil was nabbed a few days later, allegedly caught hiding out in a swanky $18,000 monthly AirBnb on Crosby Street in NoHo, less than a mile from the crime scene. Investigators believe he killed Saleh on July 13, then went to dispose of the remains the next day and was interrupted by the welfare check.
Haspil was caught on camera at Home Depot in Flatiron buying the saw and cleaning supplies found at the grisly crime scene, according to the criminal complaint.
His attorneys previously cautioned a rush to judgement in the case saying, "We are in the very earliest states of ferreting out the truth. The lift of this case promises to be long and complex."
"We urge the public to keep an open mind. There is much more to this narrative than the accusations, an arrest by the police, and a charge by the District Attorney," they said.