The 38-year-old technology consultant charged with the murder of Bob Lee, founder of Cash App made his first appearance in a San Francisco court on Friday but did not plead guilty.
Nima Momeni, who police say knew Lee, is now due for arraignment on April 25.
The judge ordered Momeni held in jail without bond, as requested by San Francisco District Attorney Brooke Jenkins. He faces 26 years to life in prison, prosecutors said.
Momeni appeared in court in an orange sweatshirt and pants. He did not speak except to say “Yes, your honor”, when the judge asked him if he was willing to deny his right to a speedy trial.
He is represented by Burlingame lawyer Paula Canny, who is on vacation and whose brother Robert Canny, also a lawyer, appeared in his place on Friday. “The facts about what happened or didn’t happen will come out over time,” he told reporters after the hearing.
Momeni’s sister, Khazar Elyassnia, and her husband Dino Elyassnia, a plastic surgeon from San Francisco, along with two family members, sat in the front row during 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 at them and nodded.
The family declined to answer reporters’ questions.
On Thursday, San Francisco Police Chief Bill Scott announced Momeni’s arrest and said the pair knew each other but declined to elaborate on their relationship. He also declined to divulge a possible motive.
Lee’s stabbing death shocked the tech industry, with friends and former colleagues mourning a man they described as bright, gregarious and a doting father of his two children.
Lee had recently moved to Miami with his father and was back in San Francisco on business when police found him stabbed in the downtown Rincon Hill neighborhood at 2:30 a.m. on April 4. He died in a hospital.
Lee is known for creating the widely used mobile payment service Cash App while working as chief technology officer of payments company Square, now known as Block.
On his LinkedIn Profile, Momeni describes himself as an “IT consultant/entrepreneur” as well as the owner of a company called Expand IT, described as an IT consulting firm in official documents.
Criminal records show Momeni was charged in 2011 with carrying a switchblade knife, a misdemeanor. The case was dismissed the following year after he pleaded guilty.