Criminal Justice

Murder defendant's airtight alibi contradicted DNA evidence

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A California man seemingly was a solid suspect in the slaying of a millionaire at his Santa Clara County mansion when his DNA was found on the dead man’s fingernails.

But prosecutors dismissed the murder case against Lukis Anderson, 26, this month after the homeless man was found to have an airtight alibi. At the time Raveesh “Ravi” Kumra was slain, Anderson was drunk and unconscious in a hospital bed, reports the San Francisco Chronicle.

How did his DNA get on Kumra’s fingernails? County prosecutors said it was transferred by a paramedic team. The two first treated Anderson for intoxication at a liquor store in San Jose, then responded hours later to Kumra’s suburban home, reports the San Jose Mercury News.

Anderson wasn’t the only individual charged in connection with Kumra’s slaying who was exonerated this month. Earlier this week, Raven Dixon, 22, was cleared of being an accessory to his murder. A convicted prostitute, she was one of three “main girls” Kumra regularly invited to his home as part of a hedonistic lifestyle, the Mercury News says, and it was simply a coincidence that she posted online photos of the interior of his Monte Sereno mansion around the time of his death, authorities concluded.

Both she and Anderson spent months in jail before charges against them concerning Kumra’s death were dropped.

Anderson’s lawyers at the public defender’s office declined to comment until they complete their own investigation, the Chronicle said.

Andrew Dosa represents Dixon. She was thought by authorities to have posted the photos of Kumra’s home months before he was killed to help members of an Oakland street gang target him for a home invasion. However, the pictures didn’t focus on any access points, only the size of the house, Dosa said, explaining “I think she posted [them] because she thought it was interesting. It’s a mystery to me why they thought she was involved in the first place.”

Three other defendants remain in jail on murder charges, and deputy district attorney Kevin Smith told the Mercury News that the case against them remains strong.

“The DA’s office is taking the position that they’re not here just to get a conviction, but are seeking the truth. It’s to their credit,” said Steven Clark, a criminal defense attorney and former prosecutor in Santa Clara County. “The flip side is two people were in jail for several months for a crime they didn’t commit. The defense can argue that the case is in disarray, and make hay with the fact that two innocent people were arrested.”

Kumra died of suffocation after being bound and gagged in a home invasion. The slaying was the first in Monte Sereno in 30 years.

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