MODESTO — A defense attorney on Tuesday told the court he plans to file a motion to dismiss charges against his client, a former Stanislaus County sheriff's detective accused of four felony charges, including embezzling from the Sheriff's Department and cultivating marijuana.
Defendant Kari Abbey also has been charged with conspiracy to commit unlawful evictions and child endangerment. She has pleaded not guilty to the charges and remains free on bail as she awaits her trial, which has been postponed and not rescheduled.
Michael Rains, Abbey's defense attorney, is seeking to overturn Superior Court Judge Ricardo Córdova's ruling that Abbey must stand trial on those charges. He said his argument will be based on discovery evidence, but he did not elaborate.
Córdova scheduled Abbey to return to court Nov. 9 to argue over the motion to dismiss charges.
Abbey initially was charged with second-degree murder and voluntary manslaughter in connection with the off-duty shooting death of Rita Elias, 31, who brandished a BB gun during a confrontation with Abbey in September 2010.
At the end of Abbey's preliminary hearing in December, Córdova dismissed the murder and manslaughter charges. However, the judge determined that there was enough evidence for Abbey to stand trial on the other four felony charges.
The embezzlement charge stems from allegations by investigators and co-workers who said Abbey spent half of her time at the Sheriff's Department attending to personal business associated with her family's rental properties.
A search last year of property Abbey shared with her father yielded a sophisticated marijuana garden, several weapons, counterfeit bills, steroids and items taken from the Hayward Police Department.
Abbey's husband, Bennie Taylor, worked for the Hayward police until last year.
In a separate criminal case, Abbey's husband and her father, James Abbey, have been charged with cultivating marijuana and conspiring to forcibly enter homes. Those charges were the result of an investigation into the fatal shooting of Elias.
A filed criminal complaint says Taylor and James Abbey unlawfully entered rental homes owned by Kari Abbey or her family.
Both men are free on bail. Taylor appeared briefly for a pretrial hearing in his case in Córdova's courtroom Tuesday morning. James Abbey did not, but his defense attorney appeared on his behalf. The judge scheduled another pretrial hearing for them Nov. 9 to hear arguments over discovery evidence and possibly schedule a preliminary hearing.
Prosecutors additionally have charged James Abbey with possessing a dangerous weapon (a sawed-off shotgun) and receiving a stolen handgun, according to the criminal complaint.
Taylor also is accused of child endangerment, illegally possessing steroids, possessing an assault weapon and illegally carrying a concealed handgun in a vehicle.
Bee staff writer Rosalio Ahumada can be reached at email@example.com or (209) 578-2394.