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Santa Cruz: Report Back From Alix Tichelman Support Demonstration

by Free Alix!
Down with Steve Clark! Down with SCPD!
On Monday, April 13th, a small group of people gathered at the Santa Cruz County Courthouse in support of Alix Tichelman, the woman charged with killing a Google executive named Forrest Hayes in 2013. Dozens of pamphlets were handed out in front of the courthouse detailing the case against Alix. Her parents personally thanked the group for their presence.

Inside the courthouse, the defense and the prosecution explained to the judge how much time they would need to sift through all of the available evidence. According to the defense, this amounts to over a terabyte of data. Much of this data is from the computers and cell phones that belonged to Forrest Hayes and they undoubtedly contain many secrets.

The court appearance was brief and the next date was set for May 11th. It will be a few months before the trial itself will begin. We hope more people can learn about the case through these words and come to support Alix when the time comes. She is being unfairly railroaded into jail for an accident that was not her fault.

Text of flier:

On November 22nd, 2013, a Google executive named Forrest Hayes met a woman on his yacht in the Santa Cruz harbor. Her name was Alix Tichelman, and Hayes had contacted her through a website called Seeking Arrangement, a networking website which claims to connect “sugar babies” with “sugar daddies or sugar mommies”. On this website, a woman can tell a man how much money she expects him to spend on her. If he agrees to spend a certain amount of money, the woman agrees to meet with him. It seems this was the arrangement with Alix Tichelman and Forrest Hayes. They met on his yacht, the Escape, and proceeded to have some wine. Later, it seems that Hayes asked Tichelman to shoot him with heroin. He used his own belt to tie himself off and gave Tichelman his smartphone to help illuminate the vein. After she injected him, Hayes fell into a stupor and did not wake up.

In that moment, Alix Tichelman probably glimpsed the future. If she had called 911 at that moment, the police would have arrested her immediately. Anyone perceived as a prostitute, especially if they are a woman, has a cage waiting for them if they are caught by the police. Additionally, Tichelman herself had recently shot up herself, so it is likely that her judgment was skewed by the drugs she had injected. No one knows what she was thinking at the moment, but we know that Tichelman left the yacht and did not come back.

Hayes was discovered on his yacht the next morning. His wife had grown concerned after he did not return and called the yacht captain to investigate. When the yacht captain arrived at the Escape, Hayes was dead on the floor of the yacht bedroom. The yacht captain then called the Santa Cruz Police Department who arrived later on the morning of November 23rd. While searching through the yacht, the SCPD noticed surveillance cameras covering almost every corner of the boat. The police asked the captain if the cameras had recorded anything in the bedroom. The captain told them no. This was a lie.

Forrest Hayes worked for Google X, the secretive research-and-development wing of Google. Its employees are entrusted with highly valuable corporate secrets and, thus they are not allowed to discuss their projects. The media has confirmed that Hayes was working on the Google Glass project before he died. This context provides a possible explanation for the yacht captain’s behavior. After the yacht captain discovered Hayes’ body he definitely called the police, but it is unknown who else he called. Perhaps the yacht captain called Google, realizing that Hayes’s death was no simple matter given his elite status within Google. It is not known why the yacht captain lied to the SCPD about the existence of surveillance footage, and it is possible that he did so to protect the reputation of not only Hayes but Hayes’s employers at Google.

The SCPD certainly did not press the matter. They waited around with their lack of evidence until suddenly the surveillance footage from the yacht emerged from the clouds. Once they had images of the incident leading to Hayes’s death, Deputy Chief Steve Clark of the SCPD took a sincere interest in the case. He saw a tattooed woman with dark hair in the footage and in no time at all he had became obsessed with her. For months Steve Clark and his team scoured the internet, looking for anyone who resembled Alix Tichelman. At some point in their investigation, the SCPD located Tichelman on the Seeking Arrangement website and decided to entrap her. The SCPD created a fake account on the website, contacted Tichelman, and asked if she could meet them at a resort hotel in Soquel on July 4th, 2014. When she arrived at the hotel, Tichelman was arrested and taken to the Santa Cruz Main Jail. She has been locked in this jail for the past ten months.

After she was locked behind bars, Deputy Chief Steve Clark began an unrelenting campaign against Tichelman in the media. In an NBC News article from July 11th, 2014, Steve Clark told a journalist about the surveillance footage that only the police and the prosecutors had seen (at that point in time). In his narration of the incident, Steve Clark says that Alix “steps over the body, reaches over the table and finishes a glass of wine and then goes back about her business.” In an article on the Daily Beast from July, 14th, 2014, Steve Clark goes on to say, “He was dying at her feet and she did nothing. She walked around the cabin with her glass of wine, finishing the wine, then wiping off the glass. He’s dying there on the floor and she’s stepping over him. I have never seen anything like that where somebody has been that cold. She was just glacially cold. She reaches back and pulls the shade down. And then she’s gone.” In this manner, Clark spread the image of an icy killer to the media, an image that has persisted for far too long. With Clark’s analysis as the crux of media perception, Alix Tichleman has been slandered as the Call Girl Killer, the Harbor Hooker, and the Black Widow of Silicon Valley; these terms have galvanized the community at large against a 27 year old woman who may have just been in the very wrong place at the very wrong time. It is clear that Steve Clark is heavily invested in this case. It is not clear why.

The obvious answer is that Steve Clark is a man and that Alix Tichelman is a woman. Another obvious answer is that Steve Clark is a cop and Alix Tichelman is a “prostitute.” Or perhaps, and very likely, Steve Clark is leading the Santa Cruz Police Department in this campaign to convict Alix Tichelman in a twisted attempt to contextualize Hayes’s death as an act of ruthless murder, and thus, to protect the public image of Google in a region where this tech giant is rapidly accumulating clout and resources.

We cannot discount the simple explanation that Steve Clark is a chauvinist pig, but there is obviously more to the story. A free woman is always a threat to the male power structure, especially if she is familiar with it. The paranoia of a frightened man is a force to be reckoned with, especially when it is in a blind panic. Even the possibility that Alix Tichelman may have murdered a Google executive was enough to send Steve Clark into frenzy. A weak man like Steve Clark should never be given the power to jail, to condemn, or to kill.

A death by drugs is tragic. The death of Forest Hayes is a loss for his family and the people he held dear. Still, we insist that Alix Tichelman’s conviction will not undo the circumstances surrounding his death.
We will not allow the SCPD witch-hunt against Alix to

Down with Steve Clark!
Down with slut shaming!

For more information on past actions, see:

Mainstream coverage:
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Comments (Hide Comments)
by Robert Norse
For those who have seen the surveillance video---does it contradict Clark's claims?
by G
Does agent Clark have any undisclosed employers?

See also: FBI struggle to keep unlawful Stingray secrets secret.
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