Tyrese Haspil Fahim Saleh
Man accused of murdering his boss for money spent on designer gifts for girlfriend. Defense argues emotional disturbance. Twitter / New York Post @nypost

In a disturbing development during Monday's trial, Tyrese Haspil, the former protégé accused of brutally decapitating his tech CEO boss Fahim Saleh, revealed a chilling detail about the moments leading up to the crime. Haspil, 25, claimed that Saleh had made disparaging remarks about his appearance just before the fatal encounter in July 2020.

During a fateful elevator ride, Haspil recounted wearing a complete disguise, taking advantage of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. He wore dark plastic face shield, a low-pulled baseball cap, and sunglasses—in a bid to remain unrecognizable. However, Saleh allegedly commented on Haspil's attire, remarking on his use of personal protective equipment during the pandemic.

The revelation made the encounter even more horrifying. Haspil's attorney, Diane Ackerman of the Legal Aid Society, disclosed that her client later admitted to the murder, detailing the grim confession that has stunned courtroom observers.

The Killing of Fahil Saleh: A Motive in Question

Even more chilling, Haspil recounted the attack itself in a cool tone, stating, "He got off the elevator, and I tased him in the back. I remember tasing him in the back." He went on to say, "I took out a knife, and I started aiming for his neck."

Haspil's attorneys claim the murder stemmed from "extreme emotional disturbance" fueled by a desperate attempt to maintain a lavish facade for his French girlfriend. According to a report by the New York Post, Haspil showered her with expensive gifts to project the image of a wealthy playboy. This financial strain, his attorneys claim, triggered a mental breakdown.

Haspil was asked on the witness stand by his attorney if he remembered anything Saleh had said during the brutal murder — to which he revealed his victim's chilling last words: "What are you doing?"

Prosecutors allege financial desperation drove Haspil to murder Fahim Saleh, a venture capitalist and CEO of the Nigerian scooter startup Gokada. Facing criminal charges for embezzling $400,000 from his employer, Haspil allegedly took a brutal and final step to avoid exposure.

Who Is Tyrese Haspil?

In 2018, Haspil landed a high-paying executive assistant position (reportedly $30 per hour) with Faleh, a leader described as both "charismatic" and "visionary." However, there are allegations that he created a falsified resume with fabricated experience, including a stint at a company named "Pinina," which appears to be fictitious.

Haspil managed Saleh's finances and personal affairs. According to Haspil, he sought employment with Faleh after his termination from a Moe's Southwest Grille location on Long Island following allegations of embezzlement of $20,000.

However, after meeting his French girlfriend, Marine Chaveuz, in September 2018, Haspil reportedly struggled to maintain their expensive lifestyle on his regular salary. This allegedly led him to continue diverting funds from Saleh's accounts.

Fearing Chaveuz would discover the source of their lavish spending, he allegedly concealed his actions. Haspil claims he didn't want to "abandon" his girlfriend. "If I take his life, then I won't have to pay him back," Haspil testified.

"If I don't have to pay him back, I won't have to worry about missing a payment. If that happens, I can continue on supporting my partner." Haspil maintains his innocence, pleading not guilty to first-degree murder charges. If convicted, these charges carry a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years to life in prison.

His defence team is arguing for a lesser charge of manslaughter, citing "extreme emotional disturbance" as a mitigating factor. According to Haspil, his reason for killing Saleh was his intense desire to make Chaveuz's birthday on July 19, 2020 an unforgettable experience.

During cross-examination, Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Linda Ford questioned Haspil about his plans for celebrating Chaveuz's birthday. Haspil reportedly disclosed plans for a spa day, kickboxing, a sunset cruise, and other outings following the alleged murder.

Haspil acknowledged spending $7,349 on a Louis Vuitton backpack and clutch for his self-described designer enthusiast girlfriend. He further confirmed receiving an email receipt for the purchase just six hours after the alleged murder on July 13, 2020, according to prosecutors.

Recent high-profile cases highlight the tragic consequences of violence. Recent high-profile cases highlight the tragic consequences of violence. Surveillance footage captured a recent assault by millionaire investment banker Jonathan Kaye, where he struck a woman in the face

Another prominent figure, Rebecca Grossman, a Los Angeles socialite and philanthropist, was sentenced to 15 years to life in prison for the deaths of two brothers, Mark and Jacob Iskander, who were struck by her car while crossing the street with their family in Westlake Village on September 29, 2020.