Volumes of court documents shed an unsavory light on the personal and business dealings of Raveesh Ravi Kumra, but critical criminal documents which offer clues as to how and why police think Kumra was murdered in his Monte Sereno home are sealed. That is fueling speculation about Kumra's three alleged killers, including Deangelo Austin, who appeared in court Thursday.
"This is a very unusual case to connect the dots between the defendants and the victims in this case," legal analyst Steven Clark said.
One of those dots could be Alameda resident Raven Dixon, who police say is a prostitute and had a relationship with Kumra. ABC7 News brought to light explosive legal accusations that Kumra lived in a fantasy world of prostitutes, had millions of dollars in assets and an interest in risky business ventures such as pornography and gambling.
Dixon was arrested for being an accessory to murder after the fact. Police think she was heavily involved in prostitution and narcotic trafficking, but Dixon's mother told ABC7 News last month that her daughter had nothing to do with Kumra's murder.
"She has done everything in her ability to clear herself and she did everything she's supposed to do and I'm proud of her," Sandra Mitchell said.
The three murder defendants are each charged with six felony counts including assaulting Kumra's wife and stealing cash, collectable coins and jewelry during the Nov. 30, 2012 home invasion robbery. The nature of the crimes makes each one potentially eligible for the death penalty.
"There's a committee that meets and discuses whether or not a case will be pursued in that manner and that's not something that's taken place in this case, nor can I say that it will in this place, I don't know," deputy district attorney Air Alem said.
Prosecutors are proceeding carefully because they believe valuable evidence could be destroyed and the defendants or their associates could harm witnesses. The sentencing possibilities means suspects may talk to make a deal.
"It puts a lot of pressure and attorneys discuss that issue with their clients very carefully; it's a tremendous bargaining chip for the prosecution," Clark said.
The three murder defendants are scheduled to appear together for the first time Friday afternoon.