The Santa Clara County District Attorney dropped accessory-to-murder charges against a prostitute Wednesday in a high-profile slaying of a Monte Sereno millionaire during a brutal home invasion robbery, according to her attorney.
The dismissal clears Raven Dixon, 22, of being linked to the brutal death of Ravi Kumra, 66, a cell phone entrepreneur and former owner of the Mountain Winery in Saratgoa, who was tied up with his wife, Harinder Kumra, 63, by a gang of assailants.
Dixon is the second person to be cleared in Kumra's murder case. Lukis Anderson, 26, was freed in June after prosecutors determined his alibi - being drunk at Valley Medical Center in San Jose - proved he couldn't have also killed Kumra on Nov. 30 in his sprawling complex on Withey Road.
Anderson was charged after Tahnee Mehmet, a criminalist with the Santa Clara County Criminalistics Laboratory, said she had found his DNA from a sample taken from Kumra's body, a claim that Anderson's attorney said had to be false.
But in court on Wednesday, Deputy District Attorney Kevin Smith said that the lab had confirmed that the same paramedics who transferred Anderson to the hospital hours before Kumra's murder also tried to resuscitate Kumra later that night, allowing for the transfer of Anderson's DNA from them to the slain millionaire. The news "vindicates" Mehmet in the face of doubts and criticism in the news media about her professional judgment and analysis of DNA from Kumra's body, Smith told Bay City News.
Kumra died of asphyxiation after he was bound and tied up; though his wife managed to escape.
Kumra's shocking death also brought to light his lifestyle, one that included spending time with many prostitutes. His family has declined several prior attempts to be interviewed by NBC Bay Area.
Prosecutors alleged Dixon, who had been with Kumra since she was a teen, gave the killers a layout to Kumra's home. But through an earlier attorney, Dixon had always contended that she considered Kumra a father figure and would never have hurt him.
Dixon's attorney, Andrew Dosa of Alameda, told NBC Bay Area that his client had nothing to do with the death of Kumra, someone she had last seen several months before his homicide.
Dosa also added that the pre-trial discovery showed no evidence that Dixon had contact with other defendants in the case. The reason police found photos of Kumra's home on her phone, which she had shared on Instagram, were harmless. She just thought it was "cool" that she had been at such a large house, Dosa said.
He said that Dixon will not testify against the other defendants either.
Two other men, alleged Oakland gang members, Deangelo Austin of Oakland and Javier Garcia of Sacramento, both 21, and Austin's sister, alleged prostitute Katrina Fritz, 33, have been charged with murder and are awaiting trial.
Dixon, however, did plead guilty, to one count of prostitution with gang enhancements and one count of possessing and transporting marijuana. She is scheduled to be sentenced on July 18, and also be released on that date for time served.
Jeff Burbank from Bay City News contributed to this report. Contact Lisa Fernandez at 408-432-4758 or firstname.lastname@example.org