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Tech consultant accused of murdering Cash App founder is on suicide watch

By Ben Marquis
|
April 20, 2023

Nima Momeni, a Bay Area tech consultant, was arrested and charged last week with the murder of CashApp founder Bob Lee in the early morning hours of April 4 in downtown San Francisco, California.

The accused killer is now said to be closely monitored on a "suicide" watch in the city's jail, according to his attorney, the Daily Mail reported.

Momeni is being held without bail following a detention hearing on Friday ahead of an arraignment hearing scheduled for April 25.

Lawyer says Momeni on suicide watch, claims to have seen no real evidence

The attorney representing Momeni, Paula Canny, told the New York Post in an interview, "As is standard process in high-profile cases in San Francisco, the jail always treats it as a high-risk suicide [watch]."

Prosecutors alleged in court documents and the detention hearing that Momeni stabbed Lee multiple times following an argument about the suspect's younger sister, Khazar Elyassnia, a married woman who was described by a witness as being potentially more than just friends with Lee.

"Bob Lee and [Momeni's] sister definitely knew each other," the attorney said. "There’s a group of well-to-do young people who liked to party."

Prosecutors further alleged that video evidence shows Momeni and Lee together as they left the sister's apartment as well as at the scene of the stabbing incident that resulted in Lee's death, but Canny claimed to have not seen any definitive evidence linking her client to the actual murder.

"He was with Bob Lee at a time that night, but the prosecutors are saying he was with Bob Lee when he was killed," the attorney told the Post. "I’m like, 'OK, show me that evidence please.'"

"Even though they made this quick arrest, I don’t have any of the supporting documents that go with the arrest warrant," Canny added. "The police aren’t saying what happened."

Court filing outlines events leading up to murder

NewsNation reported that prosecutors from the San Francisco District Attorney's Office successfully argued during the hearing on Friday that Momeni should be detained without bail and provided a brief outline of what led up to the fatal stabbing of Lee based on witness testimony and surveillance camera footage.

Per the nine-page court filing, the unnamed witness was a close friend of Lee and they had hung out together drinking for most of the day on April 3, including at an apartment with other individuals including Momeni's sister, Khazar. The witness believed that Khazar's marriage had "possibly been in jeopardy" but was "unsure" if Lee and Khazar were in an "intimate relationship" with each other.

At some point, Lee and his friend returned to Lee's hotel room and hung out with other individuals, including Momeni, who the witness alleged had a "conversation" with Lee about his sister and questioned whether she was "doing drugs or anything inappropriate," which Lee reportedly insisted wasn't the case.

Caught on camera

Shortly after midnight, Lee left his friend at the hotel and went to Khazar's apartment, per surveillance camera footage, and was then seen leaving that apartment building around 2 am on April 4 with Momeni in Momeni's white BMW. They then drove to a "dark and secluded area" and exited the vehicle to have a conversation for about five minutes before Momeni allegedly was caught on security video stabbing Lee with a kitchen knife.

Per the filing, footage then showed Momeni ditching the knife and fleeing the scene in his car in one direction while the mortally wounded Lee staggered in the other direction in search of help.

The document further revealed that investigators had found a text message on Lee's phone from Khazar sent earlier that appeared to reference the earlier discussion between Lee and Momeni, and read: "Just wanted to make sure your doing ok. Cause I know my nima came down wayyyyyyy hard on you. And thank you for being such a classy man handling it with class. Love you Selfish pricks."

Prosecutors and police decline to speculate on possible motive

NewsNation reported that prosecutors have thus far refused to address the clear implications from the witness's testimony of some sort of possible relationship beyond mere friendship between Lee and Momeni's sister that looks to have played a role in the eventual murder.

Likewise, police have also declined to speculate about what Momeni's motive may have been in allegedly stabbing Lee and leaving him to "slowly die," per the court filing, on the streets of downtown San Francisco around 2:30 am on April 4.