Three defendants in the murder of Monte Sereno businessman Raveesh "Ravi" Kumra delayed entering pleas Friday afternoon and will return to court at 2 p.m. Feb. 4.
Wearing red Santa Clara County Department of Correction jail uniforms and shackled at the hands and feet, they appeared briefly before Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Jerome Nadler in Department 23 of the San Jose Hall of Justice to waive their time for their preliminary hearing.
The men—Javier Garcia, 21, of Oakland; Deangelo Joseph Austin, 21, of Sacramento, and Lukis Delorean Anderson, 26—are each charged with six felony counts of murder, assault, criminal threats, false imprisonment, robbery and residential burglary in the murder-robbery of Kumra, who was killed Nov. 30 in his Monte Sereno mansion on Withey Road.
Santa Clara County Deputy District Attorney Anne Seery appeared on behalf of prosecutor Kevin Smith, who's trying the case. She said the DA's Office is hoping to try all men together with one jury for judicial economy's sake. "It would have to be a strategic decision to separate them, but ... they should be tried together," Seery said.
Attorney Melissa Adams, who's representing Austin, asked Judge Nadler to waive her client's appearance, but the magistrate denied the request. Attorney Chris Givens, with the Santa Clara County Alternate Defender Office, is representing Garcia and Santa Clara County Public Defender Kelley Kulick is representing Anderson. The latter two lawyers declined comment. Adams referred all calls about Austin to attorney Timothy B. Rien.
Documents related to the investigation in the high-interest case are sealed, Seery explained, adding that the investigation into the murder and assault of Kumra's wife, Hariner Kumra, is still ongoing and the matter is considered serious. "You need to keep the documents sealed to make sure the investigation is not disturbed," she added.
Seery said it's most likely the men will enter pleas on Feb. 4. after more discovery is conducted in the case. About the connection between the three men and a fourth suspect, 22-year-old Raven Chanel Dixon, the prosecutor declined to offer any information saying the case is still ongoing.
Dixon has been charged with felony conspiracy to commit murder with a gang enhancement, narcotics possession, misdemeanor prostitution and public intoxication.
Kumra, 66, the former owner of The Mountain Winery in Saratoga, was found dead inside his residence in the 18000 block of Withey Road near Beck Avenue early Nov. 30 at about 1:30 a.m. His wife contacted the Los Gatos-Monte Sereno Police Department to report that a burglary had taken place and their home had been invaded with her being attacked.
The three men are being held without bail at the Santa Clara County Jail. Dixon bail has been set at $1 million.
Adams suggested her client be greeted by Judge Nadler in the doorway of courtroom's inmate entrance saying she didn't want her client's face video-taped or photographed by the media. After the judge denied her request, he stood close to the doorway with Adams directly next to him obstructing his view to about seven television cameras in the room.
The suspects had rights to a preliminary examination within 60 days of their appearance and were asked if they understood what that meant. When they answered in the affirmative, they gave up that right.