Prostitute accused in Google exec's death pleads not guilty

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. (KABC) -- A high-priced prostitute accused of giving a former Google executive a fatal dose of heroin and leaving him to die on his yacht pleaded not guilty on Wednesday.

Defense attorneys said Alix Tichelman had no reason to kill Forrest Hayes, given how much money she was getting from him. Hayes was the former senior director of Apple's worldwide operations and was most recently an executive at Google.

Attorney Larry Biggam said Tichelman, 26, and Hayes, 51, engaged in "mutual consensual drug usage" during a sexual encounter that was initiated and encouraged by Hayes.

Police said surveillance footage from the yacht shows Tichelman gathering her belongings and casually stepping over Hayes' body to finish a glass of wine, clean up a counter, then lower a blind before leaving the yacht on Nov. 23. The father of five was found dead the next day.

Tichelman's fingerprints were discovered on the wine glass. On July 4, police posed as a potential client and lured her to a hotel, where she was arrested.

Tichelman pleaded not guilty to charges of manslaughter, great bodily injury and heroin possession. She remains in custody with bail set at $1.5 million.

Tichelman is also under investigation in Georgia for the death of former boyfriend Dean Riopelle, 53, the owner of a popular Atlanta music venue. Riopelle also died of a heroin overdose.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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