The man who allegedly stabbed tech executive Bob Lee to death under the Bay Bridge postponed putting in a plea for the third time Tuesday. His attorney said he plans to enter a not guilty plea but did not specify when.
Nima Momeni is accused of killing Lee in Downtown San Francisco in the early hours of April 4 after a dispute involving the suspect’s sister. Momeni was arrested nine days later at his Emeryville home and remains in custody.
Momeni’s attorney, Paula Canny, had previously argued that he should be released on bail because he is neither a threat to public safety nor a flight. However, prosecutors assert that he is both. He remains in custody.
Speaking after the expected court appearance, Canny said that her client plans to enter a not guilty plea and that she chose to delay his arraignment to have more time to prepare for the case.
She also spoke about how the many drugs found in Lee’s system—revealed in an autopsy report released Monday—may have impacted everything from his interactions with Momeni to his chances of survival.
“I mean, Bob Lee’s system is like the Walgreens of recreational drugs,” Canny said, adding that people on a lot of drugs are not themselves.
District Attorney Brooke Jenkins said in a press conference after the hearing that nothing —from Lee’s autopsy findings to the defense attorney’s statements—would impact her office’s vigorous prosecution of the case.
Prosecutors, Jenkins said, are accustomed to victims being denigrated by the defense.
Prosecutors have said that the incident occurred after Momeni questioned Lee about whether Momeni’s sister was doing drugs or anything “inappropriate.” Lee and Khazar Momeni were at the apartment of a suspected drug dealer the day before the killing, The Standard previously reported.
According to court documents, Lee and Nima Momeni drove together to a spot under the bridge in the early hours of April 4. The documents allege that video footage shows the two move close to each other shortly before the tech executive was found bleeding to death nearby.
Lee, who was visiting San Francisco from his Miami home, was the creator of the Cash App and chief product officer of MobileCoin.
The killing rippled through the tech community and made headlines across the world. Because Lee was stabbed in the early hours on a darkened street, some assumed his attack was random, seizing on his death to assail San Francisco’s progressive politics. But the arrest of Momeni has brought a new narrative to light, one in which the killing was allegedly the result of a dispute between two people who knew each other.
The arraignment has been continued to May 18.
Jonah Owen Lamb can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org