(SAN FRANCISCO) — The suspect in the murder of Cash App founder Bob Lee pleaded not guilty in a San Francisco court on Thursday.
Nima Momeni, a fellow tech executive, has been accused of killing Lee last month with a kitchen knife after driving him to a secluded area.
The judge ordered Momeni to be held without bail.
Paula Canny, the defense attorney for Momeni, said after the hearing that Lee’s death arose from a mix of self-defense and accidental harm.
“There was no premeditation,” Canny said.
Rejecting that account, San Francisco District Attorney Brooke Jenkins said Momeni intended to kill Lee.
“We believe this was an intentional killing,” Jenkins said. “Mr. Momeni’s DNA is on the handle of that knife.”
Jenkins said that Momeni poses a flight risk because he is a person of means and “anyone that’s capable of violently killing someone is a public safety risk.”
Momeni, 38, appears to be the owner of an Emeryville, California-based company called Expand IT.
Lee, an executive at cryptocurrency firm MobileCoin, was killed in the early morning hours on April 4 in the San Francisco neighborhood of Rincon Hill, the San Francisco Police Department said last month.
During the previous afternoon, Lee spent time with Momeni’s sister and a witness, who identified him or herself as a close friend of Lee, prosecutors said. Prosecutors have not named the witness.
Later in the day, at Lee’s hotel room, he had a conversation with Momeni in which he asked Lee about whether his sister was “doing drugs or anything inappropriate,” the witness told the police, according to the document.
Lee reassured Momeni that nothing inappropriate had taken place, the witness said to police.
Early the following morning, at about 2 a.m., camera footage showed Lee and Momeni leaving Lee’s hotel and getting into Momeni’s car, a BMW Z4, prosecutors said.
Video showed the BMW drive to a secluded and dark area where the two men got out of the car. Momeni “moved toward” Lee and the BMW drove away from the scene at high speed, according to the court document.
Police later found a roughly 4-inch blade at the scene that appeared to have blood on it, the document said.
The doctor who conducted the autopsy found that Lee had been stabbed three times, including one strike that penetrated his heart, the document said.
London Breed, the mayor of San Francisco, said in a statement to ABC News last month that Lee’s death marks a “horrible tragedy.”
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