News

Carson and co-defendants post bail, avoid jail, in murder trial

File photo of Frank Carson as he speaks with supporters during a break at the Stanislaus County Superior Courthouse in Modesto, Calif. early last year.
File photo of Frank Carson as he speaks with supporters during a break at the Stanislaus County Superior Courthouse in Modesto, Calif. early last year. Modesto Bee File

Modesto defense attorney Frank Carson and his two co-defendants have posted bail and avoided being sent back to jail during their murder trial in Stanislaus County Superior Court.

Judge Barbara Zuniga on Aug. 28 revoked the defendants’ release from jail on their own recognizance because she determined Carson and the two other defendants had communicated with one another. That violated the restrictions she had placed on them in releasing them on their own recognizance.

The other defendants are brothers Baljit Athwal and Daljit Atwal (They spell their last names differently.)

Zuniga had given the defendants until Tuesday to show they had posted bail. The judge was provided paperwork during court Tuesday that they had done so. She had set bail at $600,000 for Carson, $250,000 for Atwal and $200,000 for Athwal.

The three are charged in the murder of Korey Kauffman, who was 26 years old when he disappeared in 2012. His body was found more than a year later in Mariposa County.

Prosecutors accuse Carson of being the ringleader of an effort to stop thieves from stealing antiques and scrap metal from his property on Ninth Street in Turlock.

Prosecutors claim Carson recruited others to send a violent message to burglars, which resulted in Kauffman’s death after he was caught trying to steal irrigation pipes from Carson.

The defendants’ trial began four months ago.

The defense attorneys, and the prosecutor and the judge spent Tuesday morning outside of the jury’s presence wrapped up in a defense motion that a prosecution witness was motivated to come forward by his desire to get a deal for his son, who was charged with burglary in another case.

The court was expected to take up the motion after lunch along with another motion. Because of that, the judge had the jury sent home.

  Comments