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    “What are you doing?” – Gokada CEO’s Haunting Last Words Echo in Court as Assistant Testifies

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    In a chilling revelation during his trial, Tyrese Haspil, 25, the former assistant accused of beheading Gokada CEO Fahim Saleh in July 2020, further testified in Manhattan Supreme Court on Monday, detailing the moments leading up to the brutal attack.

    Saleh, a charismatic venture capitalist and CEO of the Nigeria-based scooter startup Gokada, was taken by surprise when he encountered Haspil in the elevator of his Lower East Side apartment building, evidence disclosed in the court indicated. Haspil wore a dark plastic face shield, baseball cap, and sunglasses, prompting Saleh to comment on his unusual appearance.

    “He said something to the effect of ‘You’re really taking this COVID [personal protection equipment] seriously,’” Haspil recalled on the witness stand. Moments later, Haspil tased Saleh in the back and began the fatal assault. “I took out a knife and I started aiming for his neck,” Haspil added, describing the gruesome attack.

    Saleh’s final words, “What are you doing?” were revealed during Haspil’s testimony. Prosecutors argue that Haspil, who had embezzled $400,000 from his boss, murdered Saleh to avoid facing criminal charges for the theft.

    Haspil’s defense team, led by attorney Diane Ackerman of the Legal Aid Society, claims he was under “extreme emotional disturbance” at the time of the murder. They argue that his relationship with his French girlfriend, Marine Chaveuz, and his desire to maintain a facade of wealth led him to commit the crime. Haspil had been showering Chaveuz with expensive gifts, including a $7,349 Louis Vuitton backpack and a customized birthday cake, despite earning only $30 an hour as Saleh’s assistant.

    In court, Haspil recounted his journey from being fired for embezzling $20,000 from a Moe’s Southwest Grill on Long Island to securing the executive assistant position with Saleh in 2018 using a falsified resume. Despite his charismatic employer’s mentorship, Haspil continued his fraudulent activities, ultimately leading to the fatal confrontation.

    The prosecution, led by Assistant District Attorney Linda Ford, grilled Haspil on his motives and actions. They highlighted the fact that Haspil received an email receipt for his lavish purchases just six hours after Saleh’s murder. When asked about the timing, Haspil confirmed, “Yes,” it was the same day he killed Saleh.

    Haspil has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder charges, which carry a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years to life if convicted. His attorneys seek to have the charges reduced to manslaughter, citing his claimed emotional disturbance. The trial, which has captured significant public attention, is set to continue on Tuesday.

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