DA Controversy Causes Sentencing Delay in Love-Triangle Homicide Involving Hindu Priest

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SACRAMENTO -- Three convictions for first degree murder, one for manslaughter -- that's the curious reduction in an eventual conviction of one Sacramento murder defendant that may change the outcome of a hotly-contested District Attorney's race in the county.

Sentencing was supposed to happen in connection with the death of Ashok Kumar Friday, instead there are pleads for a new trial.

It's been scandalous from the beginning with Kumar robbed, beaten and strangled in the doorway of his own Sacramento home.

Then, a Hindu priest who assisted at Kumar's funeral - convicted of killing him along with Kumar's wife, the woman that priest Raghua Sharma had been having an affair with.

Vicky Rainone and Tiwan Greenwade were convicted of helping the lovers with the murder.

The latest scandal?

Claims of misconduct against the prosecutor who won the conviction against the Hindu priest and the rest of his murder crew earlier this year - claims that could upend Noah Phillips' campaign to take his boss' job and become the district attorney of Sacramento county.

Raghua Sharma's attorney is the one pointing fingers in a motion for his client to get a new trial.

So what is it he believes that Phillips did wrong

"It appears to me that he had a secret agreement to testify," said attorney Michael Wise.

"Somebody essentially told me Mr. Greenwade had struck a deal with the district attorney through his attorney and based on that deal the DA is gonna argue for manslaughter...a suggestion which again I didn't put a lot of faith in until Mr. Phillips argued for manslaughter. "

Wise says that happened during closing arguments...while all the other defendants were held to charges of first degree murder.

A deal for leniency for one defendant is supposed to be disclosed to the other defendants.

How could such a secret affect Wise's ability to advocate for his client?

"If we knew he's essentially been offered something to change his testimony or testfy in a certain manner then we would have been able to cross examine him on that."

Noah Phillips says nothing improper happened during trial.

"I pursued first degree murder against Tiwan Greenwade. Take a look my power point and my closing argument and you will see that my first argument as it related to Mr. Greenwade was in fact felony murder," explained Phillips.

When asked if he made any secret deals, Phillips said, "no, absolutely not."

"I can tell you what's happening here. This is straight out of the political playbook."

While campaigning Phillips has been on leave from the DA's office, but he was supposed to handle the case of Kumar's killers through its end.

Now, he says, "I was told I was being removed from the case."

"My ability to defend my name has been taken away from me by the person who I am in a political battle with."

His campaign may now lose some of the support it'd gained since Stephon Clark's death at the hands of city officers.

Following that shooting community tempers have flared at current DA Anne Marie Schubert for not prosecuting officers involved in past police killings of black men.

Protestors have also been demanding that Schubert take action against the officers who killed Clark.

Schubert did not speak out herself about the motion for a new trial and the accusations against Phillips.

Instead, her Chief Deputy District Attorney Steve Grippi sent FOX40 a statement which reads in part:

"I can tell you that we take allegations of misconduct very seriously, which is why we formed our Justice, Training and Integrity Unit in the first place and why a member of that unit appeared in court today. From a legal standpoint, it is best that we address the allegations in court when we have sufficient information to do so.”

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