MONTE SERENO -- An Alameda woman has been charged as an accessory to the home-invasion slaying of a multimillionaire businessman at his mansion last month, an episode that rocked a secluded community that went decades without experiencing a murder.
Raven Chanel Dixon, 22, was arrested Tuesday in Mountain View on suspicion of furnishing a controlled substance and soliciting for prostitution. While in custody for those allegations, she was charged with being an accessory to homicide with a gang enhancement in the Nov. 30 killing of Ravi Kumra, a venture capitalist who at one time owned the historic Mountain Winery.
The Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office, which announced the charges Friday, declined to provide further details about the accessory charge, including the source of the gang enhancement. Dixon was arraigned Friday in Santa Clara County Superior Court, and a judge ordered her jailed on $1 million bail.
Dixon's arrest raised more questions than it answered. Authorities have yet to say how Kumra was killed or give a possible motive.
They did not disclose how Dixon and Kumra knew each other. But sources told the Mercury News that they had been acquainted for several years. Also unclear is any connection with an undisclosed suspect depicted in a police sketch released a few days after the killing.
Attorney John Ambrosio, who was retained by Dixon's family shortly before the Friday hearing, said he only had a
"A lot of the facts are not in yet," Ambrosio said outside San Jose's Hall of Justice. "(Dixon) got pulled out of the street and put in jail. She hasn't been told anything."
Ambrosio called the homicide-related charge against Dixon "out of the blue," and that her bail was "disproportionately high" for a "single mom struggling to get by."
Sandra Mitchell, Dixon's mother, said in a brief interview that her family was committed to getting to the bottom of the charge and is hoping for the best. She said her daughter had attended college until this year.
"To see her in chains, it's hard for a family," Mitchell said. "She's scared like anyone would be."
Court documents filed by prosecutors detail Dixon's Dec. 18 arrest, which occurred after she allegedly offered an undercover officer sexual services for $600 and cocaine for $50. The documents also say after her arrest, Dixon admitted to having worked as a prostitute for six years. She has not been charged in connection with these allegations.
Additionally, the District Attorney's Office sought high bail out of concern about illicitly earned cash, and prosecutors have requested the right to examine the source of any money posted on behalf of Dixon.
The homicide-related charge was announced the same day Los Gatos-Monte Sereno police responded to media inquiries by stating their belief that Kumra's death was "most likely not a random act."
"The department recognizes that the nature of the investigation has required that only very limited information can be provided to the public about the crime to protect the integrity of the investigation, and the department is sensitive to these concerns," police said in a statement.
On the night of the killing, Ravi Kumra's wife, Harinder, told a 911 dispatcher just after 1:30 a.m. that intruders had ransacked her home, and she had been beaten. When police arrived, they found her husband dead on the floor.
She didn't recognize the assailants, she told police. But she said there may have been three or four.
Kumra, 66, had owned many businesses over the years but was best known in the community for owning the Mountain Winery on Pierce Road in the 1990s, a scenic winery built by vintner Paul Masson that for decades has been a popular concert venue. Before selling it in 1999, he had considered subdividing part of it to build an estate for his family.
Kumra owned Western Cellular Management, which lists its business address as the family home on Withey Road, its number of employees as two and its annual revenue as $2.5 million.
Anyone with information about the case can contact Sgt. Mike D'Antonio of the Los Gatos-Monte Sereno Police Department at 408-827-3219 or 408-354-6843 after business hours.
Contact Robert Salonga at 408-920-5002. Contact Mark Gomez at 408-920-5869.