A defense attorney who ran unsuccessfully for district attorney in Stanislaus County last year has been arrested and charged with first-degree murder in the murder of a man he suspected was stealing his antiques.
Frank Clifford Carson, 60, of Turlock, was one of eight people arrested in the murder of Korey Kauffman, 26, missing for a year before his body was found by hunters in August 2013 near Yosemite National Park in the Stanislaus National Forest.
In addition to Carson, three California Highway Patrol officers–Walter Wells, Scott McFarlane and Eduardo Quintanar, Jr.–were arrested, as well as Carson’s wife Georgia Defilippo, 63, his stepdaughter, Christina Defilippo, 36, and two Turlock liquor store owners who are brothers, Baljit and Daljit Atwal. Last year, Robert Lee Woody was arrested and charged with Kauffman’s murder.
According to the Daily Mail, Kauffman was known to steal scrap metal, and was allegedly shot to death in March 2012 when he attempted to steal Carson’s antique car. The Turlock Journal reported that Carson had been feuding with Kauffman’s best friend, Michael Cooley, whose property abutted Carson’s. Carson suspected that Cooley and Kauffman were stealing from him; Cooley told police that Carson rifled through Cooley’s car multiple times and threatened Cooley verbally. One friend of Cooley’s asserted that men on Carson’s property once pointed a laser light at Cooley and his friends; one of the men on Carson’s property allegedly pointed a rifle at them.
Investigators with the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department said Carson had arranged Kauffman’s murder, asking the two liquor store owners to help, according to Newsday. The investigators asserted that Carson thought Kauffman was among those stealing valuable antiques from Carson’s storage containers, and he wanted to frighten them from doing so by killing Kauffman, who disappeared en route to stealing from Carson.
McFarlane and Quintanar are accused of obstructing justice, lying about their relationship with the two brothers. Quintanar allegedly warned one of the brothers to tell another suspect to look for police tracking devices under his car. Wells is suspected of murder; according to The Daily Mail, he had invested $10,000 in the liquor store.
A press conference has been scheduled for 3 p.m. by the sheriff’s department, according to CBS Sacramento.