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The personal assistant accused of killing and dismembering a New York City tech executive in his luxury condo has pleaded not guilty to the charges against him.
Redmond Haskins, a spokesperson for The Legal Aid Society, confirmed to Oxygen.com that 21-year-old Tyrese Devon Haspil has pleaded not guilty to the second-degree murder charge he’s facing in the death of 33-year-old Fahim Saleh, who was found decapitated and dismembered in his apartment by a family member Tuesday.
Prosecutors say surveillance footage from the apartment building’s elevator shows a man — later identified as Haspil — following Saleh onto the elevator and riding up to the seventh floor at approximately 1:44 p.m. on July 13, according to a criminal complaint obtained by Oxygen.com.
Police sources told The New York Post that the man had been wearing a “ninja-like” hood.
The man is seen on the footage shooting Saleh with a taser that knocked the tech executive to the ground, according to the criminal complaint.
Saleh was later found dismembered and decapitated in his condo near an electric saw.
Haspil had been seen buying an electric saw and cleaning supplies from a local hardware store on July 14 at around 9:30 a.m., hours before Saleh’s relative would stumble upon the grisly scene and call police, according to the complaint.
The medical examiner’s office has said Saleh had “five stab wounds to the neck and torso, multiple incise wounds to the arm, multiple wounds to the left hand, contusion to the left forehead, two lesions on the back and the body had been dismembered and decapitated just below the knees, both shoulders and the neck."
Haspil was arraigned on the second-degree murder charge just after midnight Saturday and has been ordered to be held without bond.
Legal Aid Society attorneys Sam Roberts and Neville Mitchell, who represent Haspil, urged the public to “keep an open mind” and said in a statement that there is “much more to this narrative,” than the allegations against their client, according to CBS News.
“We are in the very earliest stages of ferreting out the truth,” they said. “The life of this case promises to be long and complex.”
In a statement from the defense attorneys obtained by Oxygen.com, Roberts and Mitchell criticized the NYPD for a “demeaning ‘perp walk’” they said paraded Haspil in front of the media and also criticized “unnamed” police sources who had been feeding “unproven” information to the media about the case.
“The statements attributed to the ‘unnamed’ NYPD sources are emblematic of a culture within the police department to rush to judgement and strip individual citizens of their fundamental right to a fair and impartial jury,” they said. “In this case, it is Tyrese Haspil, a 21-year-old first-time arrestee, whose Constitutional rights are in peril — namely, his presumption of innocence, his right to due process, and ultimately his critical right to a fair trial before a jury of his fellow New Yorkers.”
Haspil’s aunt Marjorie Sine told The New York Daily News that her nephew had a troubled childhood and could be difficult, but had not shown any past indications of violence.
“I thought (police) made a mistake because he never showed his emotions,” Sine told the outlet of the nephew she had helped raise. “His behavior, the way he was, he acted nonchalantly. He would do whatever he wanted.”
According to Sine, Haspil had bounced from home to home as child after his mother had been sent to a mental institution. He lived with his maternal grandmother until she died when he was 12 years old before moving in with Sine.
She said he continued to live with her until he was 17 years old. He was then sent to a foster home, after he had started to stay out late and disrespect her.
“He wasn’t listening to me so he left,” she said. “That’s what happened, we went to court. I couldn’t deal with it anymore.”
Ryan Andres, a classmate of Haspil’s at Valley Stream Central High School on Long Island, described Haspil as a “pretty friendly” guy who had once been a member of the Future Business Leaders of America.
He also told The Daily News that he had never seen any incidents of violence or anger from the now 21-year-old.
Naomi Puzzello, a press officer for the Manhattan District Attorney’s office, told Oxygen.com that Haspil’s next court appearance is scheduled for August 17.
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