Santa Cruz County

Alix Tichelman pleads not guilty in Santa Cruz yacht death

Bail stays at $1.5 million

Larry Biggam speaks to reporters about Alix Tichelman

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. - A Santa Cruz County Superior Court judge denied a reduction in Alix Tichelman's bail Wednesday morning.

Tichelman, the 26-year-old alleged prostitute who is accused of injecting 51-year-old Forrest Hayes with a lethal dose of heroin on his yacht, pleaded not guilty to all eight counts -- including felony manslaughter.

A felony manslaughter charge carries a possible maximum sentence of 11 years in prison, according to California law. Tichelman also faces a number of drug-related charges, among others.

Her parents and sister were in court for the first time but refused to talk to News Channel 5 or any media as they left the courtroom.

Tichelman will be back in court on October 20th to set a date for a preliminary hearing.  She is being represented by the public defender's office.

Monday, CNN obtained the bond report for Alix Tichelman which talked about her family and alleged intentions before the arrest.

It alleged she was preparing to move out of the state when she was arrested.

The report said Tichelman has dual citizenship in Canada and her parents are wealthy, alleging she was a flight risk.

It also alleged she has continued to engage in dangerous drug use since the death of the former Google executive. 

Tichelman appeared in court last Wednesday in Santa Cruz, where she faced a series of charges in the death of the married father of five.

Authorities say Tichelman gave him an injection of heroin and then, as he began to suffer medical complications, she sipped her wine, gathered her belongings and walked away.

Hayes lived with his family in a nearly $4 million home on the westside of Santa Cruz. His family has not commented publicly on the matter.

"This case is extremely sad, there are five kids without a father today, but to demonize and sensationalize and totally blame Alix Tichelman for his death is misplaced, unfair, and simply wrong," Larry Biggam of the public defender's office told the crowd of media gathered outside the courthouse Wednesday morning. "This case is about two adults who were enganged in mutual, consensual drug usage in the context of a sexual encounter initiated by Mr. Hayes."

Biggam said his firm's client had no intent to kill or even harm Hayes.

"Why would she? He was a lucrative source of income to her-  she had a motive, if any, to elongate the relationship -- not end it," said Biggam.  "At the end of the day all the speculation and sensation and the hype is not evidenced. It's clearly not a murder case and we don't believe, although we are still gathering evidence, that it's even a voluntary manshlaughter case."

Biggam was accompanied by his partner at the Santa Cruz County public defender's office, Jerry Christensen, as well as attorney Athena Reis of the firm.

"We are confident that this case will be determined to be what it really truly is: an accidental situation that occurred in a sort of sensational environment with a somewhat sensational victim," Christensen added.

Prosecutor Rafael Vazquez has declined to comment further on the cast but has previously said that he doesn't agree with many of the more sensationalized descriptions of what was seen in the video surveillance of Tichelman taken the night Hayes died.

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