Santa Clara County prosecutors have charged a 32-year-old woman with murder and robbery in connection with the high-profile death of a Monte Sereno multimillionaire. Prosecutors said she is the sister of a suspect already charged with the same man's death.
Katrina Fritz - the sister of DeAngelo Austin - appeared in court on Friday to face the charges in connection with the Nov. 30 death of Ravi Kumra, who was tied up with duct tape, along with his ex-wife, in a robbery gone bad inside their affluent home. It was the city's first homicide in 40 years.
Kumra's wife was able to escape the brutal home invasion, but her ex-husband died, apparently from suffocating from the duct tape.
Fritz is the fifth person to be arrested in connection with the homicide. She was put on a no-bail hold and ordered to return to court on Thursday in order to be appointed a lawyer.
The exact details of Fritz's involvement are not known because her court documents were not made public. But her name appears in what's called the "statement of facts," where four other suspects have already been arrested in connection with Kumra's unusual death. Deputy District Attorney Kevin Smith told NBC Bay Area that Fritz was "familiar with the Kumra home and cell phone records show that she and DeAngelo were talking during the course of the events at the Kumra home."
Smith also said that after Kumra's death, Fritz "continued to aid her brother as he was wanted by police."
At her court hearing on Friday, Fritz, dressed in red prison clothes with her hair in a ponytail, was arraigned on murder and robbery charges before Judge Philip Pennypacker.
The others arrested in this case are Raven Dixon, 22, who was taken into custody on charges of being a prostitute and being in possession of drugs. She has also been charged with a gang enhancement, and then later, as an accessory linked to Kumra's homicide.
Documents state that Kumra had a penchant for prostitutes, and that he and Dixon had a long-standing relationship of sorts.
Prosecutors allege that Dixon helped three men figure out the layout of Kumra's mansion, as she had images of his home on her cell phone, documents state. She has declined any interviews.
Aside from Dixon, the three suspects charged with Kumra's death are: Javier Garcia, 21, Lucas Anderson, 26, and the 21-year-old Austin. Authorities allege that some of these men are involved in Oakland gangs who have been connected to home invasions of East Indian and Asian households.
As of Feb. 15, Dixon's case was merged together with the three other men. They are next expected to appear in court on March 19.
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