There's only one person left behind bars who was connected with the brutal 2016 murder of Peninsula resident Keith Green, and as far as prosecutors and most of the intelligent public is concerned, he never had any motive. But the MMA fighter and former bodyguard of suspects Tiffany Li and Kaveh Bayat known as Olivier Adella was just sentenced to serve only two more months in jail for passport fraud, unrelated to the killing.
His real name turns out to be Mustapha Traore, and he came to the U.S. on a stolen French passport in 2002 under the name Olivier Adella, as KRON 4 reports. He lived under the assumed identity for nearly two decades, even becoming a naturalized U.S. citizen under the name in 2011. But his story, he says, is one of constant childhood trauma, an instinct to survive and escape, and ultimately a sense of loyalty to people with whom he felt a familial bond.
Traore pleaded no contest to one charge of being an accessory to murder, after he admitted to transporting the body of Green to a remote part of Sonoma County one night in April 2016. Prosecutors believe Traore was telling the truth when he said he turned down an offer of $50,000 from Li and Bayat to kill Green, and he later took a lesser amount to dispose of the body after he was killed.
Li was acquitted of all charges last November, and has since fled to China, where her family is from — she, herself, grew up in privilege in the Bay Area, and had been living in a mansion in Hillsborough first with Green, and then with his friend Bayat, after having two children with Green. The jury deadlocked 6-6 on Bayat's guilt or innocence, and the charges against him were dropped after a calculation by the San Mateo County DA that the evidence might not be strong enough to continue to pursue conviction.
Traore was a key failure point in the prosecution's case. Not only did he make for an unreliable witness, given the passport fraud and an alleged history of other crimes, he also improperly contacted a defense witness — who was his ex-girlfriend — from jail, via social media, about her plans to testify. He was quickly disqualified as a witness and lost his immunity, but that didn't end up so badly for him.
In December, Traore was scheduled to be released from jail with credit for time served, but when that release date arrived, ICE agents descended and re-arrested him on the passport fraud charge.
On Saturday, in a Zoom-based hearing, US District Court Judge Vince Chhabaria heard from Traore and his defense, and it included a harrowing tale of Traore's childhood in Africa. As KRON 4 reports, Traore told the judge, sometimes through tears:
After traveling country to country, my mother and I found ourselves in Liberia. I witnessed my mother getting raped by raiders, and I ended up getting stabbed in the mouth when I was trying to protect my mother. I was nine years old.
All my life I have been running away from this memory. All my life, I have been terrified of this memory. I feel like hell every single day. I’m not a bad person.
I was able to escape, made it to the Ivory Coast, into another civil war. The new government put a price on my head. Once you have a price on your head, you always have a price on your head.
I committed passport fraud to flee the Ivorian war. Your honor, I’m telling you my life story, not to seek pity for me … but to give me a chance to be the father I never had to my son. I beg the United States government for forgiveness. I hope I get a chance to right my wrong and to be a better human being.
The prosecution called Traore's tearfulness "crocodile tears," but the other consideration in sentencing was the harsh conditions currently at Santa Rita Jail in Dublin, due to the pandemic lockdown.
Judge Chhabaria sounded inclined to leniency, as ABC 7 reports, saying that conditions at Santa Rita were "pretty terrible in normal times." And he said, after hearing from Traore, that this was, "One of the most difficult sentencing hearings I have ever heard, if not the most difficult."
In the end, Traore got a six-month sentence for passport fraud, and with time served, that means he will likely be released in July.