Three California Highway Patrol officers and a prominent criminal defense attorney were arrested along with five other people in the 2012 death of a missing Turlock, California, man found in the Stanislaus National Forest, reported KCRA Sacramento. The 26-year-old man, Korey Kauffman, was found a year and a half after he went missing.
The nine suspects were arrested Friday and the 326-page arrest affidavit pegs attorney Frank Carson as the leader. Carson is painted as a "vengeful property owner trying to send a message" to people who had stole scrap metal and antiques from his Turlock property, reported the Modesto Bee. Carson's wife, Georgia Geanette Defilippo, and her daughter, Cristina Anne Defilippo, are two of the nine people arrested for involvement in Kauffman's death.
Kauffman had been known for "scrapping," or selling stolen metal. On the night of his disappearance, he had allegedly visited Carson's property to steal irrigation pipes.
Carson denies any involvement in Kauffman's death. Percy Martinez, Carson’s attorney, told the Modesto Bee on Friday that he and his client look forward to fighting the allegations in court and clearing his client's name.
Kauffman was believed to have been killed on March 30, 2012, in the Turlock area, according to deputies. They said they believe his body was then taken to Mariposa County, California, where hunters found him in August 2013.
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California Highway Patrol officers Walter Wells, Scott McFarlane and Eduardo Quintanar Jr. were also arrested on conspiracy charges in Kauffman's death, the affidavit stated. Wells is being charged with first-degree murder and false imprisonment.
"To hear news like this is devastating to our organization," said CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow, in a Friday press conference. "The allegations themselves are extremely disturbing to a professional law enforcement organization and are a deep blow to the soul of the law enforcement profession itself."
Baljit and Daljit Atwal and Daljit Atwal, who own the Pop N Cork businesses in Turlock, were also arrested according to KCRA. In addition, Robert Lee Woody, who was already in custody, was listed in the affidavit. He was the only person originally charged in the case.