A high-profile Modesto defense attorney, three California Highway Patrol officers, and five others have been arrested in what police are describing as a conspiracy to kill a 26-year-old Turlock man in 2012.
The nine people were arrested on charges of first-degree murder stemming from the death of Korey Kauffman, a scrap metal recycler, whose body was found decomposing in the woods in 2013.
Police allege the murder was part of a conspiracy to stop scrap metal recyclers from sneaking onto attorney Frank Carson’s property and stealing metal to sell to junkyards. Carson may have bailed a man out of jail to “take care of” the people who were stealing his metal.
CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow told the San Francisco Chronicle the arrests were the culmination of a probe into the death of Korey Kauffman.
“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. The entire department and I are appalled at the mere thought that one former and two current employees played any role in this incident. What our department has learned of the allegations regarding their involvement has truly hurt the men and women of this organization.”
So far, police have charged Robert Woody with first-degree murder and arrested attorney Carson, who ran an unsuccessful campaign for Stanislaus County District Attorney. Authorities also arrested Carson’s wife, Georgia DeFilippo.
Two brothers who own Pop N Cork liquor stores in Turlock were also arrested along with three CHP officers from Merced: Walter Wells, Scott McFarlane, and Eduardo Quintanar Jr.
Carson’s property backs onto the home where Korey Kauffman was last seen after telling friends he was going to steal some irrigation pipe in the attorney’s yard.
No bail was set for any of the nine alleged conspirators, and they’re all due back in court next week.
Court evidence shows Carson was upset at the many burglaries on his property, where he stored antiques and collectibles.
This isn’t the first time law enforcement officers have been accused of murder.
In June, Cleveland police officer Michael Brelo was arrested for assaulting his brother mere days after he received a not guilty verdict in the shooting deaths of an unarmed couple.
Brelo was among the 13 officers who fired 100 shots into the couple’s car when police mistook a car backfire for a firearm discharge.
What do you think? Should law enforcement officers be held to a higher standard?
[Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images]