State

Prosecutors will not seek death penalty in Kauffman murder case

Signs are piled on a hedge outside of the Stanislaus County courthouse Tuesday morning. Aug. 25, 2015
Signs are piled on a hedge outside of the Stanislaus County courthouse Tuesday morning. Aug. 25, 2015 Jim Silva/jsilva@modbee.com

New details of the prosecution’s theory about the death of Korey Kauffman emerged Tuesday morning in a bail hearing for five people accused of his murder. Officials also revealed they will not seek the death penalty in the case.

Frank Carson is accused of orchestrating a criminal conspiracy that resulted in the death of Kauffman, 26, and the cover-up of his murder.

Carson and four co-defendants are in a Stanislaus County courtroom Tuesday morning for a hearing on bail.

Chief Deputy District Attorney Marlisa Ferreira said prosecutors believe brothers Baljit Athwal and Daljit Atwal killed Kauffman after he was found burglarizing Carson’s Turlock property for scrap metal. Kauffman was brutally beaten and shot in the back, she said.

Ferreira said Athwal and Atwal buried Kauffman’s body behind their East Avenue liquor store, Pop-N-Cork. Kauffman’s body remained there for 27 days before the suspects moved it to a remote area in the Stanislaus National Forest.

Also charged with murder and conspiracy to obstruct justice are Carson’s wife, Georgia DeFilippo, and former California Highway Patrol Officer Walter Wesley Wells.

Robert Lee Woody, who was arrested last year, faces the same charges, but he is being prosecuted separately and has been transferred out of the Stanislaus County jail to a facility out of the county to ensure his safety.

We will have more on this story later today.

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