The personal assistant charged with murdering his wealthy tech entrepreneur boss has pleaded not guilty to a charge of second-degree murder.
Tyrese Haspil, 21, was arrested and charged with second degree murder Friday over the grisly death of Fahim Saleh, 33, in his Lower East Side apartment last week.
Police say Saleh was beheaded and dismembered inside the $2.2million residence Monday afternoon, before his remains were found by a family member the following day.
The suspect appeared for his arraignment just after midnight on Saturday, facing a charge of second-degree murder in his boss’ death.
Haspil (left) was arrested on Friday and charged with second-degree murder in the death of his boss Fahim Saleh (right). Saleh, the 33-year-old CEO of Nigerian ride-sharing firm Gokada, was found decapitated and dismembered at his Lower East Side apartment four days earlier
Police said Saleh was killed in his $2.2million apartment building (pictured) on Monday
A spokesperson for the Legal Aid Society told DailyMail.com that Haspil entered a plea of not guilty.
His lawyers from the nonprofit organization, which is representing the accused man, said they were ‘in the very earliest stages of ferreting out the truth, ‘ in the case.
‘The life of this case promises to be long and complex,’ the lawyers, Sam Roberts and Neville Mitchell said in a prepared statement.
‘As the attorneys for Mr. Haspil, we urge the public to keep an open mind,’ explained the attorneys.
The lawyers added that ‘there was ‘much more to this narrative’, beyond what the murder suspect is accused of.
A relative of Tyrese Haspil (pictured) has revealed the troubled childhood that led up to the 21-year-old’s arrest for the murder of his tech entrepreneur boss
Haspil had a troubled childhood but never showed a violent streak, one of his relatives has revealed.
His aunt, Marjorie Sine, expressed her shock over the stunning allegations against her nephew in an interview with the New York Daily News published Sunday.
Sine said that Haspil was quiet and ‘at times annoying’ as a child, when he was bounced around between relatives and foster homes.
‘I thought [police] made a mistake because he never showed his emotions,’ Sine, 52, said of Haspil. ‘His behavior, the way he was, he acted nonchalantly. He would do whatever he wanted.’
Haspil allegedly displayed that nonchalance in the days between Saleh’s murder and the suspect’s arrest, as a series of surveillance videos purportedly showed him strolling around Manhattan’s NoHo neighborhood a mile from the crime scene without a care in the world.
Law enforcement sources said Haspil was even seen purchasing a bouquet of birthday balloons he bought with a credit card he’d stolen from Saleh.
‘This guy is the new American Psycho, only dumber,’ one police source told the New York Post.
Haspil’s aunt described his unstable upbringing in her interview with the Daily News, revealing that he was just a child when his mother landed in a mental institution.
Sine, who lives in Valley Stream, said Haspil’s maternal grandmother stepped in to raise him until she died when he was just 12 years old.
Haspil then moved in with Sine for about five years, but she turned him over to a foster care family when he was 17 after he became increasingly disrespectful to his aunt.
‘He wasn’t listening to me so he left,’ Sine said. ‘That’s what happened, we went to court. I couldn’t deal with it anymore.’
The last time Sine saw Haspil was during the court proceedings before he went into foster care, she said, noting that his father died a year later.
Roughly four years later, she learned on Friday that her nephew had been accused of brutally executing his boss after allegedly stealing $100,000 from the tech tycoon.
Sine said that while Haspil was a handful as a teen, he never showed any signs of violence while living with her.
‘Not here, because I would not tolerate it,’ she said. ‘I was thinking about it all last night and there wasn’t anything else I could say or do.’
A series of surveillance videos purportedly showed Haspil strolling around Manhattan’s NoHo neighborhood – less than a mile from the crime scene – with an unidentified female friend over the two days between when Saleh’s body was found and when he was arrested
A much darker narrative about Haspil has emerged from authorities who obtained video of him buying an electric saw and cleaning supplies just hours before he allegedly murdered Saleh.
Prosecutors have not released the name of the store where Haspil was recorded buying the supplies, which were later discovered inside Saleh’s apartment.
The personal assistant normally resides near Prospect Park in Brooklyn, and prosecutors said footage showed him making the transaction late in the morning of July 13.
Investigators believe Saleh was killed around 1.45pm that afternoon.
Surveillance footage from Saleh’s luxury apartment building – located at 265 East Houston St – shows him followed into a elevator by a man wearing a black suit and mask. It’s believed that man was Haspil.
Saleh, who was dressed in shorts and a t-shirt, reportedly appeared suspicious when the masked-man fumbled with the elevator, which requires the use of a key fob to operate.
The footage shows the victim collapsing to the ground as the elevator doors opened directly into Saleh’s full-floor apartment. The doors then closed and obscured the camera’s view of what happened next.
Autopsy results released on Thursday revealed that Saleh was tasered and then stabbed multiple times before being dismembered.
Detectives are seen escorting Haspil out of the 7th Precinct for transport to central booking on Friday. The suspect was dressed in Tyvek coveralls and a surgical mask
Investigators believe Haspil returned to Saleh’s apartment on Tuesday to dismember the tech entrepreneur’s body after first stabbing him on Monday afternoon.
Law enforcement officials say the alleged killer may have been waiting for the victim’s blood to coagulate before dismembering him.
When police arrived at the scene, Saleh’s torso was found in the corner of his living room and his head, arms, and legs had been separated into plastic bags.
An electric saw that was still plugged in, a vacuum cleaner and cleaning products were found nearby.
Police declined to specify the cause of death, saying the investigation was ongoing.
They have also refused to reveal why only second-degree murder charges have been brought against Haspil, despite the grisly nature of the crime and their assertion that he was caught buying supplies beforehand.
NYPD Chief of Detectives Rodney Harrison said Haspil, who handled Saleh’s finances as his personal assistant, owed the victim a ‘significant amount’ of money before his murder, and there are reports that Haspil may have been embezzling from his employer.
Police sources told the Daily News that Saleh discovered his assistant had allegedly stolen $100,000 from him, and that he set up a payment plan for Haspil to repay the money instead of reporting him to authorities.
Detectives started investigating Haspil after finding text messages in which Saleh accused Haspil of stealing the money, according to police sources.
NYPD Chief of Detectives Rodney Harrison said Haspil, who handled Saleh’s finances as his personal assistant, owed the victim a ‘significant amount’ of money before his murder, and there are reports that Haspil may have been embezzling from his employer
Detectives are seen outside Saleh’s apartment building on Wednesday as they investigated the tech guru’s grisly murder
Prior to his arrest, Haspil was reportedly staying at a luxury loft-style condo at 172 Crosby Street in Noho – less than a mile from the murder scene.
Surveillance video obtained exclusively by DailyMail.com shows Haspil on Wednesday around 12.30pm leaving the Crosby Street building where he was later arrested.
A property manager in a neighboring building told DailyMail.com that he believed Haspil had taken up residence at 172 Crosby Street as recently as this week, possibly through a short-term vacation rental service.
Other surveillance videos obtained by the New York Post purportedly showed Haspil coming and going from the apartment with an unidentified female companion.
Authorities have not said if the woman was being sought for questioning and there is no indication that she had knowledge of Saleh’s murder.
As investigators canvassed the gruesome crime scene, Haspil allegedly went on a shopping spree across upscale stores near his apartment using Saleh’s stolen credit card, sources told the Post.
In several videos Haspil’s mystery pal was seen carrying a leather tote bag he is believed to have purchased for her, one source said.
At one point the pair were filmed stepping out of an Uber with a shopping bag from Christian Louboutin, the Post reported.
And in one video recorded at 2.20pm Wednesday, a man believed to be Hapsil was seen accepting a delivery of three shiny gold birthday balloons – two shaped like the number 2 and a third shaped like a heart.
The Post noted that its unlikely Haspil bought the birthday balloons for himself as he’d just celebrated his 21st in January.
The suspect’s final two days of freedom came to an end of Friday morning as detectives swarmed his NoHo apartment and led him out in handcuffs.
Hours later, Haspil was filmed being escorted out of the 7th Precinct wearing a surgical mask and Tyvek coveralls for transport to central booking.
Detectives take Haspil into custody on Friday morning in the NoHo area of Manhattan
Haspil, who is from Elmont, New York, had worked for Saleh at his investment firm Adventure Capital.
It appears he attended Hofstra University where he studied arts and marketing. It is not yet clear how he came to work for Saleh.
Saleh was the chief executive officer of a ride-hailing motorcycle startup called Gokada that began operating in Nigeria in 2018.
The firm, Gokada, recently faced severe setbacks after being banned earlier this year by the Nigerian government. It was forced to lay off staff and pivot from being a ride-sharing service to a delivery courier.
The ban came at a difficult moment for Gokada which had just raised $5.3 million in funding from Rise Capital, a Silicon Valley-based venture capital firm, in May 2019.
After the ban was enacted, the firm stopped bringing in money and around 800 bikers working for Gorkada were also immediately laid off.
Saleh was working on new ideas and a new direction for the firm.
Saleh (pictured in May 2019) was the chief executive officer of a ride-hailing motorcycle startup called Gokada that began operating in Nigeria in 2018
At the time of his death, Saleh was also being sued by a former prison guard turned criminal who was jailed for using his app PrankDial, which he founded in 2015, to secretly record and listen to employees’ phone calls.
The app let Kirk Eady, the former deputy director of Hudson County Correctional Facility, place a call between two employees without them knowing he was behind it, then listen to whatever they said.
He listened to their complaints about him and about their jobs then retaliated against them in the workplace, according to prosecutors.
He was jailed for 15 months and in 2017 and sued Saleh for fraud, claiming the app made him think what he was doing was legal.
Whilst living in New York, Saleh resided in a number of luxury apartments. He is pictured at one of the residences in a photo taken in June 2018
Friends and family are shocked and distraught over Saleh’s brutal murder