SANTA CRUZ, California — An attorney for a Northern California prostitute charged with killing a Google executive with an overdose of heroin aboard his yacht says other women visited the man and may have consumed drugs with him before he died.
The Santa Cruz Sentinel reported Saturday (http://tinyurl.com/o39bvny ) that a judge ordered prosecutors to turn over to Alix Tichelman's public defender any evidence that shows other women visiting Forrest Hayes' yacht before he was found dead on it in the Santa Cruz, California, harbor on Nov. 22, 2013.
Police say Tichelman injected Hayes with heroin and then left without seeking help when he passed out from an overdose. Tichelman has pleaded not guilty to charges of manslaughter, prostitution and transportation and sales of narcotics. She remains jailed in lieu of $1.5 million bond.
"We've always been curious in regard to Mr. Hayes' receptiveness, if not welcoming purchase, of drugs," public defender Jerry Christensen told the judge on Friday. "It would make a great deal of difference in regard to the drug crimes."
Tichelman rolled her eyes at camera crews and reporters as she entered the courtroom dressed in orange jail garb.
Tichelman, 27, was arrested eight months later after a surveillance video at the harbor showed Tichelman gather her belongings, casually step over Hayes' body and finish a glass of wine, clean up a counter, then lower a blind before leaving the yacht the night before Hayes' body was discovered.
Christensen said the death of Hayes, 51, was an accident and was not malicious. "Everything about this video indicates accident and panic," he said.
Christensen and Tichelman's other attorneys want to review security video of the harbor for the five months before Hayes' death.
"The evidence we're missing is more related to Forrest Hayes, who he is, what's his character, his habits, his compulsions," Larry Biggam, one of Tichelman's three attorneys, said to a throng of reporters outside of court. "I think that evidence is relevant to explain why he was on the boat, why there were drugs present and why he was shooting heroin with a young woman."
Santa Cruz Police Chief Steve Clark denied defense attorneys' suggestion that investigators are purposely moving slow to turn over more evidence.
"I'm not surprised they're trying to put the victim on trial," Clark said. "It's defense tricks 101. Mr. Hayes isn't on trial. Alix Tichelman is."
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