The executive assistant who allegedly dismembered his boss this week has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder, CNN reports. Tyrese Haspil, 21, who apparently has no criminal record, is accused of decapitating and cutting up tech entrepreneur Fahim Saleh at the CEO's Manhattan condo. "We are in the very earliest stages of ferreting out the truth," Haspil's attorneys said Sunday in a statement. "The life of this case promises to be long and complex. As the attorneys for Mr. Haspil, we urge the public to keep an open mind." Saleh, 33, was head of the Nigerian ride-hailing company Gokada. In other developments:
- Hardware store: Authorities say Haspil was caught on surveillance video buying cleaning supplies and an electric saw later found by Saleh's body, the AP reports. The video was shot Tuesday morning at a hardware store on the Lower East Side, per a criminal complaint. (There's also video of a masked man following Saleh to his condo on Monday.)
- Swanky home: Other video footage caught Haspil hiding "in plain sight" after his boss' death, NBC New York reports. The native New Yorker was spotted getting out of an Uber at roughly 11pm Wednesday with a backpack and overnight bag before entering his tony $18,000-a-month AirBnb in NoHo.
- 'Mystery' female: Two hours later he was seen walking through NoHo with a "mystery female companion" and buying a bunch of birthday balloons, the New York Post reports. Seems he picked up a foil balloon that spelled out "22," a gift for his 22-year-old girlfriend on her birthday, police say. A law enforcement source responded to his nonchalant behavior by calling him "the new American Psycho, only dumber."
- His childhood: Haspil's aunt, Marjorie Sine, says he had a difficult childhood but didn't seem dangerous. She tells the New York Daily News that Haspil's mother was institutionalized and his grandmother raised him, but died when he was 12. Haspil ended up in a foster home. "I thought (police) made a mistake because he never showed his emotions," the 52-year-old said of her nephew. "His behavior, the way he was, he acted nonchalantly. He would do whatever he wanted."
- Motive: As for possible motive, unnamed sources tell the Daily News that Haspil had been caught embezzling $90,000 from his former boss. The tech CEO apparently fired Haspil but let him pay it back to avoid charges. Investigators say they learned about the alleged embezzlement via credit card statements, electronic records, and text messages between Haspil and Saleh, per CBS New York. Haspil's next court date in August 17.
- The family: "Please understand our devastation and our desire to remain private about the most recent developments surrounding this tragedy," Saleh's family said in a statement, per WABC. They thanked law enforcement and said "funeral arrangements for Fahim are underway."
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