Woman Charged in Monte Sereno Death

"We don't know how they came up with these serious charges," said defense attorney John Ambrosio

A woman was charged Friday afternoon with the high-profile and highly unusual death of a 66-year-old millionaire, who, along with his ex-wife, was tied up at their massive complex in Monte Sereno late last month and killed.

Santa Clara County prosecutors said Ravel Chanel Dixon, 22, of Alameda County was arrested Tuesday in Mountain View in connection with prostitution and furnishing a controlled substance charges. Police reports allege she had engaged in a sex-for-money exchange with an undercover police officer.

Since then, Dixon was charged with being an  "accessory after the fact"  connected to the Nov. 30 killing of Raveesh "Ravi" Kumra, an investor who owned Western Cellular Management, but was perhaps best known for owning the Mountain Winery in the 1990s.

Dixon was also charged with a gang-enhancement, but prosecutors refused to elaborate. Her bail was set at $1 million at Friday's court hearing.

Her mother, Sandra Mitchell of Alameda, said outside court that her daughter, who attends college, is scared, and called the charges "very troublesome." Dixon's attorney, John Ambrosio, added: "We don't know how they came up with these serious charges. It's an out-of-the-blue charge. They just want someone to charge  that homicide to."

Dixon did not enter a plea and was told to return to court on Jan. 14. No one from the Kumra family or circle of friends seemed to be at the court hearing.

Kumra's ex-wife, Harinder "Rani" Kumra, was also home during the attack. She has declined interview requests. The couple had divorced but were working on things, according to a previous family statement.

Rani Kumra told police she thought perhaps three or four suspects had entered her family's sprawling villa on Withey Road, and bound both her and her husband about 1:30 a.m.

Police have never said how her husband had been killed. Kumra was the city's first homicide victim in 40 years.

Also unclear is just who killed Kumra. Dixon is not being  charged directly with his death, and a sketch of a possible suspect in the case was released by Los Gatos-Monte Sereno police shortly after the homicide.

The suspect was described as a skinny Latino or white man, in his early 20s and standing about six feet tall, with black hair and a light complexion.

Documents are sealed in Dixon's case, and a spokesman for the District Attorney's Office said prosecutors will not comment further.

Early in the day, Los Gatos-Monte Sereno police refused to speak about the arrest. Later, Sgt. Steve Walpole told NBC Bay Area that the department was afraid all the media attention would harm the case.

The department sent out a news release before noon on Friday saying that detectives did not believe the homicide was a random act of violence.

The release added that department is "aware of the concern and anxiety this crime has caused the community and wishes to provide a limited update of the case."

The homicide in such an affluent section of Silicon Valley was so unusual, the story has made it way to England, where the Daily Mail had a piece about the strange  and mysterious death.

Kumra's family has not wanted to speak publicly, but has issued previous statement through email.

Ravi Kumra's brother, Bharat Kumra, described his brother as a man who "worked very hard and invested successfully over the years." He stated that his brother's wealth has been "overstated and inaccurate." Kumra had once owned the Mountain Winery in the 1990s and had invested in Tesla Capital.

"While he experienced success during his life, at the time of Ravi's passing he was weathering financial hardship," his brother wrote. "He was a generous man and went out of his way to help anyone he met, even when he had little."
Kumra had a minor criminal past in Santa Clara County - he had a handful of misdemeanors and one felony all charged in the 1990s, court records indicate. He was arrested in connection with a felony DUI in 1995, along with a misdemeanor charge of assaulting a security guard at the Mountain Winery and making a threatening phone call to the then-executive director of the Villa Montalvo, an arts foundation, both in 1998.

According to the family obituary, Kumra was born in Kartharpur, India and emigrated to the United States in 1970 after earning a degree in chemical engineering from Indian Institute of Technology Delhi. He eventually settled in the Bay Area, and his family said he was one of the first Indian-born entrepreneurs in the wireless industry.

Kumra is survived by his wife Rani, whom he married in 1974; his daughters, Raina and Anisha; his brothers Bharat Kumra and Rajesh Kumra; his sister Renu Duggal, and his father Ram Kishan Kumra. In lieu of flowers, the Kumra family will send these funds to charities working with families of homicide victims. You may donate to this website.

Anyone with information about this case is asked to contact Sgt. Mike D'Antonio of the Los Gatos-Monte Sereno Police Department at 408-827-3219. Contact police communications at 408-354-6843 during non-business hours.

NBC Bay Area's Damian Trujillo contributed to this report. Contact Lisa Fernandez at 408-432-4758 or lisa.fernandez@nbcuni.com.

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