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Bob Lee killing: New details emerge about Cash App founder’s fatal stabbing in San Francisco

A courtroom sketch of SFPD Crime Scene Investigator Rosalyn Check pointing to a photo of a knife while on the witness stand during Nima Momeni’s preliminary trial at San Francisco Superior Court on Monday, July 31, 2023. | Source: Vicki Behringer

New details emerged Monday about the fatal stabbing in Downtown San Francisco of tech executive Bob Lee, who prosecutors say was killed under the Bay Bridge by an acquaintance, Nima Momeni of Emeryville.

As the prosecution began laying out its case in court at Momeni’s preliminary hearing, the suspect’s attorneys repeatedly tried to call into question the thoroughness of the police’s investigation in the hours and days following Lee’s killing. The defense also highlighted the role of a suspected drug dealer who they say gave Momeni’s sister date rape drugs.

San Francisco police officers said that on April 4, they responded to reports of a stabbing on Main Street near Harrison Street at approximately 2:35 a.m. Officers found a man, later identified as Lee, suffering from stab wounds. He was taken to a local hospital, where he died.

Prosecutors say Momeni, a 38-year-old IT consultant, killed Lee with a kitchen knife after the two men fought over Lee’s interactions with the defendant’s sister, Khazar Momeni.

The defense asked why the knife hadn’t been fingerprinted and why an apparently homeless man asleep near the scene was only briefly questioned by police.

Hours before his killing, Lee and Khazar Momeni were at the home of a suspected drug dealer who said he was Lee’s friend, The Standard learned from a source with knowledge of the case in late April.

READ MORE: Cash App Founder Bob Lee’s Killing: A Who’s Who as Suspect Heads to Court

Prosecutors said Lee, 43, and Nima Momeni were captured on video leaving Khazar Momeni’s home and driving together to a spot under the bridge. The video shows the two close to each other, shortly before the tech executive was found bleeding to death nearby.

A preliminary hearing is conducted before a judge to determine whether there is enough evidence to proceed with a trial.

New Details

San Francisco police officer Cedric Hood took the stand first in San Francisco Superior Court. He said he was one of two officers who attempted to resuscitate Lee when they found him bleeding on Main Street. A silver knife with a black handle was found inside a locked Caltrans parking lot by a police sergeant on the scene on April 4, Hood said in court.

Hood said another officer told him a homeless man was sleeping near garbage cans and was questioned by officers on the scene.

SFPD Officer Cedric Hood outside the courtroom in San Francisco Superior Court on Monday during the preliminary hearing for Nima Momeni, the suspect in the murder of Bob Lee. | Source: Jeremy Chen/The Standard

The man was 40 feet away and incoherent when interviewed by an officer, Hood said.

Crime scene investigator Rosalyn Check took the stand just after 10:30 a.m. Check has been a police officer for 18 years and has been in the crime scene investigation unit for 12 years.

Check said she arrived on the scene during daylight hours and was shown to a coned-off area in the Caltrans parking lot. She found a 4-inch, Joseph Joseph brand kitchen knife at the scene.

A pedestrian passes the Portside apartment complex near where former Square executive Bob Lee was stabbed on April 4. | Source: | Noah Berger for The Standard

Check bagged the knife, which appeared to have blood on it, before marking a trail of blood drops from outside the Caltrans lot to Harrison Street, she said. She continued to mark the trail along Main Street to the front of the Portside apartment complex. In video footage viewed by The Standard, Lee was seen banging on the glass doors of the Portside while bleeding.

Workers clean what they believed to be human blood off the exterior of The Portside at 403 Main St. in San Francisco after Bob Lee's stabbing. | Source: Jonah Lamb/The Standard

Check said she then found blood arced across a wall on the Portside and on a call box outside the building. Lee was seen in the video trying to use that call box.

Check told defense attorney Saam Zangeneh the knife looked a bit old and used.

“It wasn’t a brand-new knife?” Zangeneh asked.

Zangeneh then asked if a bag of cocaine was found in a search of the 1 Hotel, where Lee was staying. Check helped with the crime scene investigation at the hotel but said she was not aware of any cocaine.

Anthony Brass, a defense attorney on Nima Momeni’s legal team, speaks to members of the media at San Francisco Superior Court on Monday. | Source: Jeremy Chen/The Standard

Defense attorney Anthony Brass spoke with the media briefly during a break from court.

“We want to know why police work wasn’t as complete as it could have been,” Brass said.

After a brief recess, Officer Milad Rashidian took the stand around 11:48 a.m.

Rashidian said he retrieved video from 13 locations related to the investigation, including the Millennium Tower, where Khazar Momeni has an apartment. The video captured at Millennium Tower is activated via motion sensors, Rashidian said.

Sgt. Brent Dittmer, the lead homicide inspector in the case, took the shortly after 3 p.m.

A courtroom sketch of Milad Rashidian giving testimony during the preliminary hearing for Nima Momeni at San Francisco Superior Court on Monday. | Source: Vicki Behringer

“The brand on the knife that was found and seized at her apartment was Joseph Joseph,” Dittmer said.

Dittmer testified that he looked through Lee’s phones and found texts between Khazar Momeni and Lee.

‘I’ll Kill You!’

The prosecution’s argument for motive was challenged in the final testimony at court Monday, as defense attorney Zangeneh quizzed Dittmer on the officer’s own case notes.

According to the notes, after a party on April 3 at Khazar Momeni’s Millennium Tower home, she and Lee, plus a suspected drug dealer named Jeremy Boivin and two other people went to Boivin’s home in a different Downtown San Francisco apartment building.

One of the women in attendance told Dittmer that GHB, commonly referred to as the date rape drug, was used at the party, as was cocaine and LSD, DMT and nitrous oxide.

Boivin allegedly gave out the drugs. Both Khazar Momeni and another woman took three doses of GHB, Dittmer was told. The woman interviewed by Dittmer told him she was sick and passed out. When she woke up, Khazar Momeni was wearing a bikini and crying, said Zangeneh.

Then the woman, who was concerned about Khazar Momeni, contacted Khazar Momeni’s husband, Dino Elyassnia, and brother, Nima Momeni, to come and get her. Lee was not at the apartment when the two came to pick Khazar Momeni up. He had left, according to police interviews.

Saam Zangeneh, center right, speaks with his fellow defense attorneys in the halls of San Francisco Superior Court on Monday. | Source: Jeremy Chen/The Standard

“In fact, in your notes, they weren’t upset. They were very normal and understanding,” Zangeneh said of Dittmer’s notes. The woman told both men that no assault or anything sexual had occurred, Zangeneh said.

Sometime after leaving Boivin’s home, according to Dittmer’s notes, Lee and a friend he left with received a FaceTime call from Nima Momeni. During that call, Momeni quizzed Lee about Boivin’s interactions with his sister and whether anything inappropriate had happened.

Later that day, Boivin visited Khazar Momeni’s home at Millennium Tower, where he was threatened by Nima Momeni, according to Dittmer’s notes.

“I spoke with Mr. Lee’s wife or ex-wife, who told me she had spoken with Jeremy Boivin about what had happened when he was inside the apartment,” Dittmer said. “Mr. Momeni was behaving in a threatening manner and saying, ‘fuck you, I’ll kill you.'”

Boivin left the tower before Lee arrived.

Who’s in Court?

A new judge was appointed Monday, with Harry Dorfman replacing Victor Hwang. Dorfman met with police officers in April to handle warrant requests and said he was presiding Monday for that reason.

Nima Momeni entered the courtroom around 10:09 a.m. wearing an orange jumpsuit and sat beside his Florida-based attorney Bradford Cohen and three others.

A file photo of Harry Dorfman, former assistant district attorney and prosecutor in Superior Court in San Francisco on July 5, 2012. Dorfman is the new judge for the Nima Momeni court case as of Monday. | Source: Michael Macor/SF Chronicle/Getty

Momeni’s mother, Mahnaz Tayarani, was in court with a man and a woman. Lee’s ex-wife, Krista Lee, was also present, along with around 12 other people. Lee’s brother, Tim Lee, and his father, Rick Lee, were also in the courtroom.

Mahnaz Tayarani, the mother of Nima Momeni, walks through the halls of San Francisco Superior Court on Monday ahead of the preliminary hearing for Nima Momeni, who is accused of killing Bob Lee. | Source: Justin Katigbak/The Standard

Prosecutor Omid Talai was also at court with San Francisco police homicide inspector Dittmer and a small team of assistant prosecutors.

Krista Lee, ex-wife of Cash App founder Bob Lee, center, in the halls of San Francisco Superior Court on Monday during the preliminary hearing for Nima Momeni. | Source: Jeremy Chen/The Standard

This is a developing story and will be updated.

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