SACRAMENTO — Three and a half months after thieves entered a Sacramento home and left a 60-year-old man dead as they fled, new details are emerging about the last person arrested in the case and what may have motivated the killing.
While the crime, a vicious stabbing, according to witnesses, is alarming enough, the fact that the latest alleged murderer is a Hindu priest is sending shock waves through the Hindu community.
Ashok Kumar was killed in August in his home on Grandstaff Drive.
A month later Sacramento police arrested Tiwan Greenwade, Vicky Rainone and the victim’s wife, Rohini Kumar, for murder.
Last week Raghua Sharma was charged with the same, and officers announced they believed there were no more suspects outstanding.
He blessed their homes, married couples and reportedly helped with the funeral of his alleged victim.
And Hindus who are outraged now say the killing in this case was all because of a priestly love-triangle.
It’s the last thing Prandit Girwar Maharaj expected to see linked to a fellow Hindu priest.
“Very shaken, everybody’s talking about it. Oh man, disgrace for the priest,” he said.
He sees the disgrace and moreover has disdain for the behavior 58-year-old Raghua Sharma has been accused of — behavior divorced from the sobriety, loyalty, tolerance and mercifulness he says a priest is required to exhibit.
It’s a Sharma portrayed on Facebook.
He posted many pictures of himself in his priestly garb.
“A priest will not consider even killing an ant. So what … to talk about killing a human being?” Maharaj said with a shrug of his shoulders.
After Ashok Kumar was killed in his home as police responded to calls of a burglary in progress, Sharma appears to have donated $5 to a GoFundMe set up by a friend to help Kumar’s children and the wife who would eventually be charged with killing her husband.
That page has now been suspended citing recent events.
Police have not clarified the relationship between the four suspects now being held without bail in connection with Kumar’s murder, but Sacramento’s Hindu community can’t stop talking on and off-line about the rumors of a love affair between Kumar’s wife Rohini and priest Raghua Sharma.
“The victim had some insurance for his life insurance and wife has been having relationship with Raghua Sharma, and they were trying to get some money out of him and I heard he wanted to go back to Fiji,” said Maharaj.
Over the weekend, Hindus gathered to celebrate Diwali, the festival of light, but the darkness of what’s happened in their community was not far from their thoughts.
“He had a relationship with that woman, people were talking about it in the community,” said Sunil Prakash.
The leaders of Laxmi Narayan Mandir Temple say Sharma was not affiliated with their facility, but many of the believers FOX40 spoke to say he definitely was.
When asked if worshipers were upset, Prakash said, “Yeah they are really upset. People, they think he was a priest and he was doing these wrong things you know. What will he teach us?”
Sharma and the three other suspects in this case all declined comment when FOX40 asked to speak to them at the Sacramento County Jail to get their side of what’s happened here.
FOX40 also visited Sharma’s home to hear from his wife, but there was no answer.