Escort pleads not guilty in death of Google exec

SANTA CRUZ, Ca. -- Alix Tichelman, the prostitute accused in the death of a Google executive, stood silently in a Santa Cruz County courtroom as her lawyer entered a plea of not-guilty.

Police say she injected Google executive Forest Tim Hayes with heroin on his yacht then stood by and watched as he overdosed.

Tichelman's parents and sister left the courtroom in silence. Her lawyer, however, came to her defense, claiming Tichelman had no intent to kill her former client.

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"He was a lucrative source of income to her," said Larry Biggam, describing the relationship between Tichelman and Hayes. "She appreciated his generosity and she had a motive, if any, to elongate -- not end -- the relationship."

While Tichelman sits in a California jail cell, police closer to home are re-evaluating the death of her former boyfriend Dean Riopelle. He died of an apparent heroin overdose in September of last year, just two months before Hayes.

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Again, Tichelman's lawyer put the blame on the person who died.

"Birds of a feather fly together, that's been my experience in this business. I'm sure that they were both engaged in some high risk and unhealthy lifestyles there," Biggam said.

But two people who personally knew Riopelle have said he was very health conscious and never did drugs.

"He was a man that was skeptical of even taking aspirin, let alone heroin," said Khristina Brucker,Riopelle's former nanny.

"Dean doing heroin? No freaking way," exclaimed Allen Vine, a former bandmate of Riopelle's.

Tichelman's lawyer calls her a sensitive woman with a serious drug addiction.


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