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Alameda woman faces accessory to murder charges

The complex case surrounding the death of a Monte Sereno businessman continues to move toward a trial. Four people are currently accused of involvement in his death during a home invasion last year. The newest suspect, a 22-year-old Alameda woman, is charged as an accessory to murder. She pleaded not guilty to the charges on Feb. 14 and is being held on a $1 million bond.

It is believed the businessman died of asphyxiation after being gagged and blindfolded during the course of the home invasion on Nov. 30, 2012. The Santa Clara County District Attorney is using this as the basis for saying the actions of the accused parties caused the businessman's death. The other three suspects are facing a variety of felony counts, including murder, false imprisonment and robbery.

The charge of accessory to murder in California has a precise legal definition. It means that while the accused wasn't at the crime scene and didn't take part in the murder, he or she did conspire to harbor, conceal or aid the person(s) who committed the crime with the intention of helping the person(s) escape punishment. The charge of accessory to murder can be a felony or a misdemeanor with possible prison time of up to a year for a misdemeanor and three years for a felony conviction.

Being charged as an accessory to murder is a potentially serious charge. A criminal defense attorney may be able assist a person accused of this crime in a variety of ways. For example, it may be possible to have the charges dropped or reduced by negotiating a plea bargain with the prosecution.

Source: Campbell Patch, "Kumra Murder: Woman Charged As Accessory Pleads Not Guilty," Shelia Sanchez, Feb.15, 2013

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