Assistant found guilty of dismembering former boss with a saw to keep him from discovering theft

NEW YORK (AP) — A personal assistant was convicted Monday of killing and dismembering his former boss after stealing an estimated $400,000 from him, Manhattan's district attorney said.

A jury found Tyrese Haspil, 25, guilty in the 2020 death of Fahim Saleh, 33, whose beheaded, armless body was found by a cousin who had gone to his luxury Manhattan condo to check on him.

Haspil was arrested days later in a posh Airbnb that authorities say he had rented with stolen money for his girlfriend's birthday party.

Haspil handled finances and personal matters for Saleh, whose ventures included Gokada, a ride-hailing motorcycle service in Africa. Within months of being hired in 2018, investigators said Haspil began funneling money into bogus accounts using two separate schemes, prosecutors said.

He resigned after a year but continued to embezzle funds, even after Saleh confronted him about one of the schemes in January 2020 and let Haspil repay $35,000 over a two-year period to avoid criminal prosecution.

Afraid Saleh would discover the continuing theft, Haspil hatched a detailed murder plot, first posing as a potential buyer for a vacant apartment across the street from Saleh's residence so that he could install a camera to surveil Saleh's building, prosecutors said.

When Saleh returned home from a run on the morning of July 13, 2020, Haspil followed him into the elevator to his seventh-floor apartment, shocked him with a Taser and stabbed him to death, prosecutors said. He returned the next day to dismember the body with an electric saw, which eventually died, authorities said. It was while Haspil was out buying a battery charger that the victim's cousin arrived and discovered the body, authorities said.

“Tyrese Haspil tragically cut Mr. Saleh’s life short – a man who came from a close-knit immigrant family and followed his passions to become a successful entrepreneur," Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg said in a statement. “I hope the accountability delivered by today’s verdict can provide a measure of comfort to Mr. Saleh’s loved ones as they continue to mourn his loss.”

Haspil's sentencing on murder and other counts is scheduled for September.

The Associated Press