Alix Tichelman, daughter of WSOP poker player Bart Tichelman, has pleaded guilty to charges of involuntary manslaughter and administrating drugs in connection to the death of Google executive Forrest Timothy Hayes. Tichelman was sentenced to six years in prison.
Hayes died on November 23, 2013, after suffering a heroin overdose while on a private yacht located in the Santa Cruz harbor. Tichelman, reportedly a high-end prostitute, was seen in surveillance footage on the boat, but did not appear to do anything to aid Hayes.
Injected with Lethal Dose
In fact, court documents say that Tichelman was directly responsible for Haye’s death, even if it wasn’t an intentional murder. Tichelman injected Hayes with what turned out to be a lethal dose of heroin that night.
Hayes had hired Tichelman several times before that night for sexual services, and he had apparently hired her once again on the night of his death. The two took drugs and had sex that evening before he died.
According to investigators, the surveillance video from the yacht showed Tichelman acting callously towards Hayes after his death. She stepped over his body on several occasions, finished a bottle of wine, pulled down a set of blinds to hide the body, and never called 911 or tried to find help for the executive.
Originally Pleaded Not Guilty
Tichelman had previously pleaded not guilty to charges of manslaughter, prostitution, and drug administration. At the time, Judge Timothy Volkmann said that she could potentially face as much as 15 years in prison if found guilty of all charges.
But Santa Cruz police had plenty of evidence against Alix, who was said to have worked both as a model and a high-end call girl. Both fingerprints on the glass of wine and the surveillance video, in which her distinctive tattoos could be seen, placed her definitively at the scene of Hayes’ death.
Police arrested Tichelman after detectives posed as a man willing to pay her $1,000 for sex. When she arrived at an upscale hotel in Santa Cruz County, she was detained by authorities.
Tichelman was also allegedly involved in a similarly suspicious death just months earlier. In September 2013, Atlanta-area bar owner Dean Riopelle died of a heroin overdose while dating Tichelman.
In that case, Tichelman did call 911 to ask for help, claiming she had found him after his overdose. However, friends said Riopelle had been sober for years, and while the medical examiner initially ruled his death to be accidental, authorities in Georgia pledged to reexamine the case after hearing about the similar circumstances in Hayes’ death.
“There’s a pattern of behavior here where she doesn’t seek help when someone is in trouble,” said Santa Cruz Deputy Police Chief Steve Clark after her arrest.
That isn’t the only similar death tied to Tichelman’s past, either. In 2010, Alix’s ex-boyfriend Warren Ullom was also convicted of voluntary manslaughter after a woman he was with died of (yet again) a lethal heroin overdose.
Despite these stories, many near Tichelman say that she is far from a sociopath. NBC News reported that friends described her as “a sensitive, big-hearted dreamer.”
“She’s a good person,” Hennessey Shaat told NBC News.
Bart Tichelman, Alix’s father, is the CEO of data center management firm SynapSense and an avid poker player. He has two World Series of Poker cashes to his name, and also won a 2008 WSOP Circuit event, earning a prize of $425,595.