Pathao co-founder Fahim Saleh’s executive assistant Tyrese Devon Haspil, who has been charged with murdering the tech entrepreneur in a Manhattan apartment on July 14, pleaded not guilty on Tuesday.
Haspil pleaded not guilty to the first degree murder at a Skype conversation on Tuesday.
Haspil has been charged for allegedly decapitating and dismembering Pathao co-founder Fahim Saleh in his New York condo on July 14, reports CNN.
He made the plea before the state court judge in Manhattan after a grand jury indicted him on upgraded charges of first- and second-degree murder, second-degree grand larceny, second-degree burglary, concealment of a human corpse and tampering with physical evidence, according to the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office.
Fahim Saleh, 33, co-founder of Bangladeshi ride-sharing app Pathao also the CEO and founder of Gokada, a motorcycle ride-sharing app in Nigeria, was found murdered in his luxurious condo in Manhattan of the city on July 14 when his sister went there looking for him.
New York police on July 17 arrested the young man in connection with the murder.
Haspil handled Saleh’s finances and personal matters, a law enforcement official with knowledge of the investigation said at the time.
Fahim had recently come to know that Haspil misappropriated tens of thousands of dollars from him.
According to the indictment, 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 charges Haspil with three grand larceny counts for allegedly stealing tens of thousands of dollars from Saleh through PayPal and Intuit transfers.
Court documents said a Makita saw, scissors, a knife, gloves and a mask were found in Saleh’s apartment, along with bags containing a head and limbs.
“We’re contesting everything here, including the circumstances of the death and whether or not they can prove that this young man had anything at all to do with it,” said Neville Mitchell, an attorney with the Legal Aid Society’s Homicide Defense Task Force, who’s representing Haspil.
“This is going to be a vigorous defense for this young man. There are a lot of things that we’re investigating that you know we’re not prepared to offer at this time in terms of the defense, but there will be a vigorous defense.”
Haspil is being held at the Rikers Island, according to Mitchell.
The case was adjourned until January 11.
Murder of Saleh
Saleh was found dead the day after he was killed in the living room of his condo on the Lower East Side, police said. His cousin had gone to check on him. His head and limbs were severed.
Haspil allegedly assaulted Saleh with a Taser before killing him, police said at the time. Saleh had just stepped out of an elevator that went straight to his seventh-floor apartment.
Saleh was last seen in surveillance video getting into the elevator with a masked man dressed in all black, according to the law enforcement official.
An autopsy showed Saleh died from five stab wounds to the neck and torso, according to the criminal complaint.
Who is Fahim Saleh
Saleh was born in Saudi Arabia to Bangladeshi parents. He grew up in upstate New York and had a computer science degree from Bentley University in Massachusetts.
He was well known for his support of fledgling techies.
In 2015 Saleh joined others to launch Pathao.
The app offers ride sharing and food delivery. It would become one of the fastest growing start-ups in Asia.
Saleh was CEO of Gokada, Nigeria’s motorcycle ride-hailing company, which launched in 2018.
Source: United News of Bangladesh