Lisa Heng, who is standing trial for murder, was not taken advantage by the meth addicted boyfriend she allegedly stabbed to death as she has been portrayed, said a prosecutor Friday in a San Francisco Superior Court.
Instead, she was an irresponsible mother who was infatuated by her boyfriend and spent the little money she had on hotel rooms and methamphetamines.
Heng admits stabbing her boyfriend Matt Sheahan in the heart during an argument one early morning in July 18, 2014. He died later that day from his wound and she was arrested and then charged with murder for the killing.
For most of her three days on the stand, Heng has been characterized in questioning by her lawyer, Public Defender Jeff Adachi, as an innocent woman who stabbed her boyfriend by accident after he beat and choked her in a Tenderloin hotel room.
But in cross examination Thursday and Friday, Assistant District Attorney Rebecca Wagner, tried to draw out another version of the brief summer love affair between the two.
Part of that alternate narrative was Heng’s poor choice in Sheahan.
Heng didn’t seem to find numerous red flags worrisome. Sheahan smoked crystal meth in front of her on their second date, told her he used to act in pornographic films and had a violent past.
Her questioning also appeared to characterize Heng as a jealous woman increasingly angry with Sheahan, who seemed to be taking advantage of her money and affection, yet was not reciprocating the way Heng wanted him to.
“You were obsessed with him,” asked Wagner.
“Let’s just say I was very into him,” replied Heng.
Wagner’s questions also painted Heng as the one in charge of the relationship, referencing earlier mention of a role she sometimes played. The pair called her “Boss Bitch” when she acted out one of many roles the two often captured on video.
When Wagner asked Heng who was in charge of the relationship, Heng said she was. Heng then talked about how Sheahan asked her to help him structure his life more and she agreed.
“It seems like kinda in your role you were the adult. He was a kinda a child,” said Wagner. “It sounds like you were setting rules for him.”
When Sheahan didn’t return calls or texts promptly Heng would get upset, which Wagner tried to frame as a sign of Heng’s anger and control issues.
Heng simply said it was a natural reaction when Sheahan said he would call or arrive on time.
But that anger seemed to come out in text messages between the two, which Wagner said were a part of Heng’s growing resentment of his taking advantage of her. At one point she texted him and wrote “you pathetic tweaker.”
Frustration also came from his excessive meth use and money issues. “His addiction was so bad he would borrow money,” said Heng later.
Heng said she would pay for the nearly daily hotels the pair went to and even lent him money for drugs. But at first she didn’t mind because she just wanted to be with him.
At the time Heng, who is a single mother, had no job and was living off unemployment and her savings.
Questioning about her priorities seemed to point to Heng’s irresponsible choices during this period.
At one point she asked if Heng felt divided between loyalty to her daughter and to Sheahan. Heng said she was. For example, at Sheahan’s behest she did not retrieve her daughter, who was sick, and had been left for the summer with Heng’s sister in Long Beach.
But Wagner’s more telling questions came when she asked Heng about other woman, seemingly aiming at a motive for the killing.
“Did you start to get suspicious of him because of other woman?” asked Wagner.
Heng replied: “I’m pretty sure that came up,” but “I felt confident he wouldn’t cheat on me.”
Wagner also asked if that jealousy manifested itself through Heng’s desire to get into Sheahan’s phone, which Heng denied.
Instead, Heng said she wanted to get into his phone to erase any naked pictures he’d taken of her. She said she was afraid he might try to sell the photos.
At some point he stopped letting her into his phone, saying it had a virus. That prompted her to break into the phone, which she says he asked her to do because of the alleged virus. But that did not allay her suspicions. “I got a little suspicious,” she said after that. “Does this virus come and go?”
She did eventually get into his phone and accidentally erased photos of her and his old girlfriends, which prompted Sheahan to do the same to Heng. The two were arguing over the photos the morning Sheahan was stabbed and died.