Tirez Haspil, 21, pleaded not guilty via Skype to a Manhattan state court judge after a large court hearing raised him on high charges of first- and second-degree murder, grand second-degree theft, second-degree theft, absconding of a human corpse and falsifying physical evidence, according to the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office.
Saleh “witnessed a crime committed earlier and the death was caused in order to prevent the victim̵
The indictment accuses Haspil of three major crimes, which he allegedly stole tens of thousands of dollars from Saleh through PayPal and Intuit transfers.
Court documents say 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 dispute everything here, including the circumstances of the death and whether they can prove that this young man had anything to do with it,” said Neville Mitchell, a lawyer with the Legal Aid Society Task Force. , which represents Haspil.
“It’s going to be a vigorous defense for this young man. There are a lot of things we’re investigating, but you know we’re not ready to offer protection right now, but there is going to be a vigorous defense.”
Haspil is being held on Rikers Island, according to Mitchell.
The case was adjourned until January 11.
Saleh was found dead the day after he was killed in the living room of his apartment in the Lower East Side, police said. His cousin had gone to check on him. His head and limbs were cut off.
Haspil allegedly attacked Saleh with Taser before killing him, police said at the time. Saleh had just stepped out of the elevator, which went straight to his apartment on the seventh floor.
Saleh was last seen on video surveillance entering the elevator with a masked man dressed in black, according to a police officer.
The autopsy showed that Saleh had died from five stab wounds to his neck and torso, according to the criminal complaint.
Saleh was the CEO of Gokada, the Nigerian motorcycle company that launched in 2018.
A video of surveillance from a hardware store in Manhattan the morning after Saleh’s murder captured Haspil, buying an electric saw and cleaning supplies that were later found near Saleh’s dismembered and decapitated torso, the complaint said.
When Saleh’s cousin was buzzing in his apartment later that morning on July 14, the assistant claimed he was dismembering Saleh’s body with a saw and fled, according to a police officer. Haspil was arrested in Manhattan days later.
CNN’s Sonia Moghe contributed to this report.