Nine people – including three current or former California Highway Patrol officers and a prominent local criminal defense attorney – were arrested Friday in connection with what Modesto, California, officials allege is a conspiracy orchestrated by the attorney to kill a man in 2012 and then cover it up.
Frank Carson, 61, allegedly had Korey Kauffman killed on March 31, 2012, because he suspected Kauffman of stealing from his Turlock property, according to a 334-page affidavit released by the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department detailing the three-year, multi-agency investigation.
Carson’s attorney, Percy Martinez, told the Associated Press his client is innocent and that the allegations are politically motivated.
Carson ran last year for district attorney and had previously filed a civil suit against the county and a prosecution investigator, according to the according to the Modesto Bee.
“We welcome the opportunity to fight this in court,” Martinez told the AP.
Carson’s property was searched shortly after Kauffman’s disappearance (his body was discovered in Marisposa County in August 2013).
Carson’s attorney did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.
Along with Carson, eight others were arrested: brothers Baljit and Daljit Atwal, 37 and 42, who own a Turlock liquor store; CHP officers Scott McFarlane and Eduardo Quintanar and former CHP officer Walter Wells, 33; Carson’s wife, Georgia DeFilippo, 63, and her daughter, Cristina DeFilippo; and Robert Woody, who has been in custody since 2014, and was until last week the only person charged in Kauffman’s death, according to the Bee”.
McFarlane and Quintanar are charged with criminal conspiracy and being an accessory, and Christina DeFilippo faces suspicion of the same two charges.
McFarlane and Quintanar have had their peace officer powers revoked and been placed on administrative leave, CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow said at a Friday news conference, according to the AP.
Wells was fired in June for conduct unrelated to this investigation, Farrow said.
“The California Highway Patrol is a very proud organization that values integrity … to hear news like this is devastating,” Farrow said, according to the AP.
Carson, Georgia DeFilippo, Baljit and Daljit Atwal, Woody and Wells all face murder charges, and additionally face what the Bee called an enhancement for the use of a gun in the homicide and a special circumstance allegation of lying in wait.
Both Atwals also face suspicion of criminal conspiracy and false imprisonment. Carson, Wells, Woody, and Georgia DeFilippo face charges on those two crimes as well. Carson is additionally charged with soliciting a crime.
Carson, Georgia DeFilippo, Baljit and Dalji Atwal and Wells remain in jail as of Saturday morning, according to jail records. No bond is available for them or they are not bondable, according to records.
It’s unclear if any of the nine have entered pleas, or if Christina DeFilippo, McFarlane or Quintanar have been released from custody (possibly on bond).
“I didn’t know the quantity but I knew there was going to be a few more [arrests] than just Woody,” Kauffman’s father, Tony, told the Bee. “It feels pretty good. We’ve come a long way, and it’s only just beginning. … We have a long road ahead of us.”
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