A prostitute and former San Francisco exotic dancer made her first appearance in Santa Cruz County Superior Court today since being arrested Friday in the death of a one-time Google executive on his yacht last fall.
A judge set a July 26 arraignment date for Alix Tichelman, 26, who is named in a criminal complaint filed by Santa Cruz County prosecutors in the drug overdose of 51-year-old Forrest Hayes, Assistant District Attorney Rafael Vasquez said.
The complaint against Tichelman charges her with manslaughter and administering heroin causing great bodily harm as an enhancement, transporting heroin from one county to another and possessing heroin for personal use, all felonies, Vasquez said.
It also listed misdemeanor charges of destruction of evidence and engaging in prostitution. Tichelman is being held on $1.5 million bail in the county’s main jail, Vasquez said.
The investigation by Santa Cruz police into Hayes’ death is ongoing and the district attorney’s office may review new aspects of the case as they are presented, according to Vasquez.
Prosecutors are expecting the defendant to plead not guilty at her arraignment and that Santa Cruz law firm Biggan Christensen & Minslof, which contracts with the county for defense legal services, will handle her defense, Vasquez said.
Santa Cruz police found Hayes’ body last Nov. 23 on his yacht, which was docked at the Santa Cruz Small Craft Harbor. Hayes had died from an overdose of heroin, police said.
According to police, Tichelman, who possessed heroin, met Hayes aboard the vessel at the harbor that day, injected him with heroin and then casually stood by as the man lost consciousness and fell to the floor of the boat, where he later died.
Tichelman was an exotic dancer at a pair of topless nightclubs in San Francisco, Larry Flynt’s Hustler Club from March to July 2010 and The Condor Club from June to August that year, according to her Facebook page.
Tichelman wrote on Facebook that her city of residence was Atlanta, that she attended high schools in Maine and Georgia, and was most recently self-employed as a “Model/Makeup Artist/Writer.”
Hayes once held executive positions at Google, Sun Microsystems and Apple in Silicon Valley and commuted from Santa Cruz, according to a memorial page set up for him.
The website was available this morning but the authors deleted it early this afternoon.
Commenters on the website described Hayes, who left behind two children, as a peacemaker at work who knew how to solve difficult problems for employee groups, especially at Apple, for which he made frequent overseas trips to track company operations in China.
Santa Cruz police said that Tichelman had been working as a high-priced outcall prostitute using the website SeekingArrangement.com and boasted in an interview with detectives to having relationships with more than 200 clients.
Detectives recovered text messages and emails exchanged by Tichelman and Hayes and found out that she had met with him on the evening of his death.
Surveillance video taken on his boat showed him suffering physical problems and lapsing into unconsciousness in the presence of Tichelman, who failed to assist him or call 911 for help, police said.
She instead is seen on the video gathering up what appeared to be heroin, needles and her other belongings while stepping over the man’s body several times, police said.
At one point, she stepped over the body to finish a glass of wine, according to police.
Jeff Burbank, Bay City News