Worried text from suspect Nima Momeni's sister discovered on slain tech exec Bob Lee's phone – CBS News

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/ CBS San Francisco
SAN FRANCISCO — In a text message to slain Cash App founder Bob Lee hours after his stabbing death, Nima Momeni’s sister Khazar Elyassnia was concerned about his welfare because ‘I know nima came wayyyyy down hard on you.”
The court documents filed Friday along with a formal murder charge against tech entrepreneur Momeni in the April 4th slaying has revealed a dark underside of events leading up to Lee’s death. San Francisco authorities announced Momeni’s arrest Thursday afternoon.
ALSO READ: Tech exec Nima Momeni formally charged with murder in slaying of Cash App founder Bob Lee
The charging documents revealed some kind of relationship between Momeni’s sister and Lee. However, investigators said a witness in the case could not say if the two were in a romantic relationship.
During a Friday afternoon press conference, San Francisco District Attorney Brook Jenkins addressed Elyassnia’s role in the case, though she noted that it was currently still a part of the investigation.
“What we have at this point — and what we’ve been willing to release to the public — is the fact that Mr. Momeni does have a sister who was connected to Mr. Lee and apparently is what connects the two men, but at this time, we’re not revealing any more than what’s contained in our detention motion,” Jenkins said.
The DA also said that there appeared to be some discussion between Momeni and Lee about whether or not Elyassnia had used drugs, but that authorities had not released any further details regarding illicit substances being involved in the case.  
The documents begin with Lee, the witness, a resident and Elyassnia drinking at an apartment in the Mission District. After several hours, Lee and the unnamed witness left the apartment to head to the tech exec’s room at 1 Hotel San Francisco. The others stayed behind.  
The documents begin with Lee, the witness, a resident and Elyassnia drinking at an apartment in the Mission District. After several hours, Lee and the unnamed witness left the apartment to head to the tech exec’s room at 1 Hotel San Francisco. The others stayed behind.
The witness told police while they were in the hotel room, Lee received a cell phone call from Nima Momeni.
ALSO READ: Suspect in San Francisco slaying of Cash App founder Bob Lee arrested, identified as Emeryville tech entrepreneur
“The conversation was about the Defendant picking up the younger sister from the house where they had earlier met her…(The) Defendant was questioning Victim regarding whether his sister was doing drugs or anything in appropriate… (The) Victim assured Defendant nothing inappropriate had happened.”
ALSO READ: Emeryville neighbors of Bob Lee murder suspect express shock after his arrest
At 12:39 a.m., Millennium (Tower) camera footage shows Lee arriving. At 2:03 a.m., the cameras show Lee and Nima Momeni leaving together.
Investigators were able to pull video from other cameras in the neighborhood. Those videos showed Monemi’s BWM with Lee inside parked in a darken area of Main St. A confrontation ensues on the sidewalk. Lee is seen stumbling up the street, injured. The BMW races away.
Upon arrival, San Francisco police officers found Lee lying in the street with three stab wounds, two of those to the chest. He was rushed to San Francisco where he died of his wounds.
“One of the stab wounds, showing a direct and clear intent to kill, penetrated Victim’s heart,” according to the charging doc.  “Immediately after stabbing Victim, Defendant threw the kitchen knife, fled the scene in his white BMW at a high rate of speed, and left Victim to slowly die.”  
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The court document said officers recovered what they believed to be the murder weapon — a 4-inch sliver kitchen knife with a black blade — near the site of the altercation. The blade had what appeared to be human blood on it.
During the investigation, detectives were able to unlock Lee’s phone. Among the items they discovered was a Facetime call between Lee and Nina Via Khazar reading: “Just want to make sure you are ok Cause ‘I know nima came wayyyyy down hard on you. And thank you for being such a classy man handling it with class Love You selfish pricks.”
At a Thursday news conference, San Francisco Police Bill Scott brushed away the debate of safety in San Francisco, telling reporters that Lee’s slaying involved the dark side of human nature.
“Facts show and research shows that most people who commit homicides know the people who they kill,” Scott said. “The research shows that. So I do understand how people see and view things. I see it, I read it. I live here just like a lot of you all. This has nothing to do with San Francisco. This has to do with human nature.”  
District Attorney Brooke Jenkins echoed those sentiments at a Friday news conference.
“I think now that we know the facts and understand that this is somebody that Mr. Lee knew, that this was a targeted killing,” she said. “This is not indicative of the state of affairs here in San Francisco on our streets. That doesn’t mean that we still don’t have a lot of work to do, from a public safety standpoint, but I simply don’t think Mr. Lee’s murder fits into that equation.”  
Momeni made his first appearance in a San Francisco courtroom Friday dressed in a jailhouse orange sweatshirt and pants.
His sister, Khazar, and her husband Dino Elyassnia, a San Francisco plastic surgeon, along with two family members, sat in the front row at the hearing. 
When Momeni entered the courtroom, an older woman made a heart sign with her hands and Momeni, who was wearing a face mask, smiled and nodded at them.
He did not speak except to say “yes, your honor” when the judge asked if he agreed to decline his right to a speedy trial.
Momeni is represented by Burlingame attorney Paula Canny, who is on vacation and whose brother Robert Canny, also an attorney, appeared in her place Friday.
“The facts of what occurred, or didn’t occur, will come out over time,” he told reporters after the hearing.
The formal arraignment, originally set for Friday, was delayed until April 25th with plenty of questions still surrounding the case.
First published on April 14, 2023 / 12:58 PM
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