A California murder suspect accused of killing the father of her two children posted a $35 million bail on Thursday morning, reportedly one of the largest in U.S. history, PEOPLE confirms.
Tiffany Li, 31, paid $4,240,000 in cash and put up the rest of the value — more than $60 million — in property. The bail is a reflection of her family’s wealth, which authorities fear could allow her to escape prosecution.
(California courts seek twice the bail amount if property is used in place of money, so the assets Li used had to double the remaining $31 million, after her cash payment.)
Li’s attorney, Geoff Carr, says 15 to 20 of her friends, family, extended relatives and business associates of her mother — who made her fortune in the Chinese construction business — raised the cash and offered up their properties in the San Francisco Bay Area as a guarantee for her release.
Li’s family is likely worth between $100 million and $150 million, San Mateo County, California, District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe told the Los Angeles Times. He tells PEOPLE she “comes from a very, very wealthy family.”
Carr tells PEOPLE that Wagstaffe originally asked for a $100 million bail — which was “ridiculous.” Wagstaffe says prosecutors originally sought no bail and asked for $100 million only after a judge ruled bail would be set.
He says Li’s $35 million is the largest bail in the county’s history.
But Li is “constitutionally entitled” to bail, Carr says. She has worked in stocks and property management, he says.
She was in jail almost a year before her release on Thursday, after being accused of conspiring with her boyfriend, Kaveh Bayat, to kill Keith Green, her ex-boyfriend and the father of their two children, because she was afraid she would lose custody of them.
Li’s friend Olivier Adella allegedly helped commit the murder.
She, Adella and Bayat are each charged with felony murder, and Bayat and Li are additionally each charged with felony conspiracy to commit a crime, according to court officials.
Victim’s Family Reacts
Green’s grandmother, Anthalena Green, tells PEOPLE the family is “trying to remain positive and pray for justice for him.”
“I hadn’t heard of anyone in California that got out on bail for a murder charge,” Anthalena says.
Her grandson was reported missing on April 29, 2016, after he didn’t return home from a meeting with Li at the Millbrae Pancake House in the Bay Area the night before.
At the time, he was only carrying his cell phone, which was later found by a hiker in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park.
Twelve days later, his body was discovered by deputies in Sonoma County, California, off of Highway 101, near the California town of Healdsburg. He had reportedly been fatally shot.
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“He was my first grandson,” Anthalena says. “He was delightful. He was an all-around person. He was into sports. He was just a delightful boy from the time he was born.”
She says Keith graduated high school with a football scholarship and had dreams of becoming a chef.
He was attending culinary school when he was killed, she says. He would have graduated only a few months later.
“How do you do that?” Anthalena says of Li’s alleged crime. “This is the father of her children. I don’t know what was on her mind.”
Wagstaffe says custody of Li’s children is now shared between her mother and Green’s mother.
“It is a very sad story,” he says.
Defense: ‘No Viable Motive’
Li and her boyfriend, Bayat, were arrested in Keith’s death on May 21, 2016, in her multimillion-dollar home in the ritzy suburb of Hillsborough, California, about 20 miles south of San Francisco.
Adella, Li’s friend, had been arrested one day earlier, on May 20, 2016. Both he and Bayat remain behind bars. Calls to their attorneys were not immediately returned. It was not immediately clear how they have pleaded to their charges.
Carr says Li has pleaded not guilty and had no reason to kill Green.
“There is no viable motive why this woman really wanted this young man dead, and in fact it is the opposite and that will come out in trial,” he says.
Li’s trial is scheduled for September. All three suspects will next appear in court in July.
‘Incentive to Flee’?
Wagstaffe considers Li “a flight risk,” necessitating the high bond amount, he tells PEOPLE.
He described the $35 million as “unprecedented,” according to the Mercury News.
“If convicted, she [Li] faces the rest of her life in prison,” he told CBS News. “That’s plenty enough incentive to flee back to her native China.”
Carr dismissed his insinuation, however: Li, he says, was born in China but moved to the U.S. as a young girl.
“She is a citizen,” he says. “Her mother is a citizen. She has two children that are citizens. She has worked here all of her life. All of the people she knows and loves are here in California.”
“She has a master’s degree from the University of San Francisco,” he adds. “She worked in a stock brokerage firm years ago when she got out of school, and more recently she was working in her mother’s property management business.”
Once released, Li will have to hand over her passports, wear an electronic monitor and be put under house arrest, according to KPIX.