WEEK ONE FOR ALL THE MARBLES
FRANK CARSON ET AL MURDER TRIAL
BY WILLIAM THOMAS JENSEN (TOM)
Well here I am at my computer once again. I had to take some time off to get my shit together. The constant grind of the preliminary hearing had destroyed me physically and mentally. I had to recharge my batteries for what was coming up. Here we are at the beginning of what I am sure is going to be a war. I will strive to put into writing what I see each week and give you my spin on the Frank Carson Et Al murder trial. Rather than doing nightly reports, I will provide you with weekly reports. This will allow me to get some sleep every night, and hopefully I can make it through this marathon.
First of all, I must say that I feel that this is not a fair trial. I see the judge hampering the defense in every way that she can. So many motions with huge merit have been shot down. What little respect for our legal system that I had has been destroyed. The notion of presumption of innocence is a myth. The deck is being stacked.
For day one testimony, Marty Carlson did such a marvelous job of capturing detail, I am using his podcast to put into writing what happened. Words can’t adequately describe how great his efforts have been in covering this trial. I can write, but Marty has such insight into every detail. Thank you, Marty, for everything you have done.
Day one, April 18, 2018, here we go. We start out at 9:20AM with the court clerk reading the charges against Frank Carson, Daljit Atwal, and Baljit Athwal. I was surprised that there were only two charges. All three defendants are charged with both. Count one is first degree murder. Count two is obstruction of justice.
Judge Zuniga starts out explaining how everything is going to work during the trial. Marlisa Ferreira starts out with her opening statement. She starts out by stating that Frank Carson, as an officer of the court is sworn to uphold the law, and how he had broken the law. She speaks about how Frank has an intolerance for thieves. She states that Frank got help from the Athwals, and others to kill Korey Kauffman because he was stealing items from the Carson property. She states that Korey Kauffman would be alive today, if not for the actions of Frank Carson. I am not so sure of that given his lifestyle, drug use, and the many other people who had a reason to kill him.
Marlisa tells the jury about the Carson property at 838 9th street in Turlock. She describes the many containers, vehicles, and antiques that are located on the property. She tells the jury that Frank Carson actually lived in Modesto at the time of Korey Kauffman’s alleged murder. Marlisa Ferreira speaks about Michael Cooley’s property, which borders the Carson property, and how there was a hole in the fence between the properties. She speaks about how many people were stealing from the Carson property, and how Frank Carson was fixated on Michael Cooley. She speaks about how Michael Cooley lived with Eula Keyes in that house next door to the Carson property. Marlisa tells the jury how Frank Carson assaulted people that were at the Cooley residence. She tells the jury about how Cooley, and others, were playing horse shoes on the Cooley property on 03/30/2012. She describes how they saw aluminum irrigation pipes stacked on the Carson property. Pictures were shown of the Carson property. Marlisa describes how the aluminum pipes were moved, and how Korey Kauffman’s bike was left at the Cooley property on the night that Korey Kauffman allegedly disappeared (03/30/2012.) Marlisa describes how thefts had been going on from the Carson property since 2003.
Marlisa Ferreira speaks about Leonard and Heather Hall, and how they had been renting a property from Frank Carson. She tells the jury that Frank Carson had them evicted from the property. She describes how they “fled for their lives” and left some of their possessions at the rental house.
Marlisa states that there were four incidents of theft from the Carson property in 2011. She describes how Frank Carson had gone over to the Cooley residence and accused them of the thefts. She states that Frank Carson kicked in one of their gates and had searched their residences and cars for his stolen items. Marlisa states that Frank Carson had threatened to kill Michael Cooley and dump his body where it would never be found.
Marlisa states that Korey Kauffman’s body was found in the mountains near Mariposa in 2013 by a hunter named Gary Crosby. She states that his body was found in a ravine in a very decomposed state. She states that items of clothing, and personal item were found with the body, and that a discharged 22 caliber bullet was found in the ground under the body. She states that a criminalist found two bullet holes in Korey Kauffman’s coat. She states that the two holes matched two holes that were in the lining of the coat. Marlisa states that two matching holes were found by the criminalist in Korey Kauffman’s shirt.
Marlisa Ferreira now starts speaking about text messages between Frank Carson’s wife, Georgia DeFelippo, and her daughter Christina DeFelippo. She states how one of the text messages described Frank Carson as “flipping out”, and how he was packing a gun on the Carson property. One of the text messages has Georgia instructing Christina to wear dark clothing and go out and patrol the property. One of the text messages has Christina talking about motion sensors, and how alarms were going off on the Carson property.
Marlisa Ferreira describes how Frank Carson had contact with the Turlock Police Department while Frank was doing surveillance on the Cooley property. There is an objection by Frank Carson’s attorney Percy Martinez. The attorneys are taken into Judge Zuniga’s chambers and return. The jury is sent out. There is discussion about Praveen Singh, and how he tried to hire a security guard to watch the Carson property. This situation is currently being litigated, and should have not been brought up by Marlisa Ferreira.
Defense attorney Percy Martinez argues that in May of 2017, DA Investigator Kirk Bunch had interview a man named Jesse Stevens, who was a bounty hunter associated with Praveen Singh. Percy states that Praveen Singh took Jesse Stevens to the Carson property, and said the someone was willing to pay $1500 to $2000 per week for him to watch the property. Percy stated that Jesse Stevens declined the offer. Percy Martinez states that this is all hearsay from Praveen Singh. Percy states that Praveen Singh had never said anything about this until the May of 2017 interview with Kirk Bunch.
Marlisa Ferreira states that Praveen Singh will either confirm this account, or deny it when he is put on the stand. Marlisa argues that there is no legal basis for the defense to object to this. Judge Zuniga tells Marlisa that hearsay is a legal objection. Percy Martinez states that the defense has not received anything concerning this situation. Marlisa once again states that there is no legal objection. Judge Zuniga seems to be getting irritated with Marlisa. Percy states that there is no link between Frank Carson and Praveen Singh concerning this situation. Marlisa states that Praveen Singh is an employee of Frank Carson. Percy states that Frank Carson has to be aware of this to be part of a conspiracy, but was not aware of this. Marlisa Ferreira states that there is a strong inference that Frank Carson was aware. Percy states that there is no evidence that Praveen Singh was an employee of Frank Carson.
Percy Martinez criticizes Marlisa Ferreira’s opening remarks that Frank Carson was sworn to uphold the law, but broke the law. Judge Zuniga agrees with Percy. Judge Zuniga: “Praveen Singh’s statements were based on circumstantial evidence, and there is no evidence that Frank Carson was exercising control over Praveen Singh.” Judge Zuniga: “Inferences must be backed up by evidence.” Judge Zuniga: “You must prove that Singh was acting under direction of Frank Carson.” Judge Zuniga: “Singh is not an employee of Frank Carson, but was occasionally doing work for Frank Carson.” Judge Zuniga: “This is misleading, and leads to credibility issues with the prosecution’s theory.” Judge Zuniga: “The jury will be told to disregard that Praveen Singh is an employee of Frank Carson.” I believe, at this time, the jury was brought back into the courtroom.
Marlisa Ferreira tells the jury that Frank Carson hired the bounty hunter, and that Frank put trackers on Linda Sue Burns car (a blue station wagon.) Marlisa now speaks about Patrick Hampton, and how he wrote a letter to DA Investigator Steve Jacobson. Hampton, in his letter, told Jacobson that he “wanted to do the right thing.” Hampton said that he wanted nothing in return. Hampton said that while in the courthouse, Frank Carson asked him for help with the Cooleys while shielding his face with some files. Hampton said that Frank asked him to “handle some shit for him.” Hampton said that he had stolen thousands of dollars of items from the Carson property. Marlisa told the jury that Frank Carson was trying to get a deal for Hampton for time served. Marlisa says that Frank Carson had a long time friendship with the Athwals. She said that they exchanged gifts, and that the Athwals tried to get law enforcement friends of theirs to patrol the Carson property.
Now we get into some really bad stuff. Marlisa blurts out that Daljit Atwal and Korey Kauffman had a fist fight outside of Pop N Cork Liquors a couple of days before Korey Kauffman went missing. Daljit Atwal’s attorney Hans Hjertonsson immediately objects. You could see heat emanating from his shaven head. He was pissed off! We have a big fight over this situation, and the jury was sent to lunch.
Judge Zuniga last week had ordered Marlisa Ferreira not to say anything about this disputed situation. There is a motion on this that has not been heard. I am certain that this was done deliberately. It has permanently tainted the jury, and there is no remedy for it other than declaring a mistrial.
This whole issue centers on a man named Scott Rollins, who allegedly saw a surveillance tape recording being played at Pop N Cork Liquors that allegedly showed the fight.
Judge Zuniga takes the lawyers into her chambers for a protracted meeting. When they came out, Marlisa Ferreira looked like she had been raked over the coals. Judge Zuniga sustains the objection made by Hans Hjertonsson. Judge Zuniga states that she had some choice words for Marlisa in chambers but would not say what she had told her. Hans Hjertonsson states that: “we can’t unring this bell.” He wants a mistrial to be declared. All of us want a mistrial to be declared. We break for lunch.
When we return from lunch, Hans Hjertonsson again asks for a mistrial, and asks for Marlisa Ferreira to be admonished in front of the jury. Marlisa starts on one of her patented rants. Judge Zuniga does not want to hear anything from her. Judge Zuniga tells Marlisa that she is on the verge of doing something very very severe. Judge Zuniga: “Don’t give me that look.”
Scott Rollins had been a very hard person to locate for the DA. He was eventually served his papers to appear when they found him living in his car. Marlisa Ferreira states that there should not be a mistrial declared. She states that there is no prejudice. Marlisa now states that she takes offense to criticism of the DA’s Office by Judge Zuniga. This pisses off Judge Zuniga. Judge Zuniga: “You keep stumbling into these types of things.” Marlisa goes into another one of her rants. Judge Zuniga: “I am going to hold you in contempt of court if you don’t stop.” Marlisa finally takes the hint and backs down.
Marlisa deflects this situation by complaining about the first lines in Percy Martinez’s statements. Judge Zuniga states that she will admonish the jury to ignore the statements made by Marlisa Ferreira concerning the alleged fight. NEVERMIND. Like usual, she fails to exert control over her courtroom, and never follows through on her threats of sanctions against the prosecution for their frequent and blatant misconduct. If there ever is a conviction in this case, in my opinion this situation will cause her to be reversed. This is just one of many such situations that could cause a reversal. I have no confidence that this judge will provide a fair trial to the defendants. This jury has been poisoned.
Marlisa tells the jury that they will hear from three witnesses that will testify about threats made against Korey Kauffman. Marlisa talks about an alleged incident where someone shouted out: “Your ass is grass” to Korey Kauffman. Marlisa speaks about how people on the Carson property had picks and shovels while repairing the hole in the fence, and how they had put down a piece of plywood with nails sticking up where the repaired hole was. She calls this a “booby trap.”
Marlisa tells the jury about how Cathy Grinnolds, on 03/30/2012 saw three men patrolling the Carson property. She says that Grinnolds saw men on top of a building overlooking the property. Marlisa says that CHP Officer Eduardo Quintinar will be testifying. Marlisa says that Michael Cooley had said that Korey Kauffman was his friend. She says that Michael Cooley said that Korey Kauffman had said that he was going out to steal some things, and never came back for his bike that was parked at the Cooley residence on 03/30/2012.
Marlisa Ferreira states that after Korey Kauffman was killed, his body was loaded up in a pickup truck, and moved to Pop N Cork Liquors where he was buried. Marlisa states that CHP Officer Walter Wells showed up at Pop N Cork the night that Korey Kauffman was allegedly buried on a side lot next to the store. Marlisa Ferreira states that Robert Woody cut off the fingers and the toes off Korey Kauffman’s body. Marlisa tells the jury that Robert Woody showed the cops where the body of Korey Kauffman was buried. She tells the jury that Korey Kauffman was dug up 27 days later, and the body was moved to a ravine in the mountains by Mariposa. She says that the Athwal’s pickup truck was reported stolen, and burned the next morning. She states that both sets of key fobs for the Chevrolet Silverado were accounted for, and that the truck was impossible to steal without the key fobs. This is simply not true. That model of truck was the 7th highest on the list of stolen vehicles during that year. Marlisa ends her opening statement by asking the jury to come back with a guilty verdict on both counts for all three defendants.
Defense attorney Percy Martinez now starts his opening statements. He states that Frank Carson and Michael Cooley had a bad relationship. He tells the jury that Michael Cooley was charging people fees to crawl through the hole in his fence to steal from the Carson property. Percy states that evidence will show that Korey Kauffman actually disappeared on 03/29/2012. Percy now goes into the testimony of key witness Robert Woody. Percy goes over all 15 different versions of his story of what happened on 03/30/2012 when Korey Kauffman was allegedly killed. Percy shows the jury how Robert Woody lied on every one of his statements. Percy tells the jury of the incident at the jail where Beverly Woody held up a sign telling Robert Woody to change his testimony to conform to what she had testified to in the courtroom. Percy tells the jury of how Robert Woody subsequently did change his testimony in response to this sign, and then later recanted this statement after his lawyer came back from vacation in Hawaii. Percy made a very powerful point that Robert Woody and the truth do not exist in the same universe. Percy goes into Michael Cooley, and how the defense theory is that he was involved in the killing of Korey Kauffman. I was immediately surprised that Judge Zuniga was allowing this to be brought up. Judge Zuniga had ruled against the defense in their motion to include 3rd party culpability. Percy describes to the jury how Michael Cooley had buried Korey Kauffman’s bike in his back yard. Marlisa Ferreira did not object to any of this during Percy Martinez’ opening arguments. We are now done with the day one fireworks. Marlisa Ferreira states that her first witness will be Kevin Pickett.
Day 2 04/19/2018
As we enter the courtroom, I notice Kirk Bunch is looking dapper with a new haircut. Marlisa Ferreira is looking haggard like she had no sleep at all. Marlisa Ferreira starts out by arguing that Percy Martinez has violated Judge Zuniga’s ruling on third party culpability. In addition to Michael Cooley, Percy had mentioned other names as well. She asks the judge to sanction Percy for his misconduct. Percy Martinez states that he never suggested that Michael Cooley was responsible for the disappearance of Korey Kauffman, but that Michael Cooley deflected away his involvement. Percy states that Michael Cooley was the last person to see Korey Kauffman alive. Marlisa states that this still falls into the 3rd party culpability issue. She states that the defense still has to make a showing that he was responsible, and the court had ordered Percy not to go into this. Judge Zuniga states that we need to do a hearing on Michael Cooley before Percy can go into this. Judge Zuniga denies sanctions against Percy Martinez.
Hans Hjertonsson states that Judge Zuniga had ruled that Michael Cooley was fair game. Hans states that he has incorporated Michael Cooley into his opening statements. Jai Gohel agrees with Hans that Judge Zuniga had already made Michael Cooley fair game. Judge Zuniga states that she needs to see that in the transcripts. A large amount of time is spent going over the transcripts, and one by one the attorneys were finding what they knew was contained in the transcripts. At this point, I am thinking to myself that this judge is not up to the enormity of the case that is before her. It is now 10:20AM, and the jury is brought into the courtroom.
Percy Martinez continues his opening statements that he began yesterday. Percy brings up the fact that Robert Woody’s statements changed over time. Percy tells about 03/01/2014 when Robert Woody was first arrested and interviewed. He shows how the investigators encouraged him to change his story of what happened to conform to their theories on how the body was moved. Again and again they hammered Woody to change his story to match what they wanted him to say. They told Woody that they had other witnesses that would back up what they were saying, and constantly trying to make Woody change his story. Percy describes how DA Investigator Steve Jacobson had given Woody transcripts and reports to read. Percy states that in 2008, Frank Carson was hired by Baljit Athwal to help with a legal issue in Merced County case. Percy states that Baljit had payed Frank Carson $5,000 to handle the case, and that Frank was able to get resolution on the case with little or no work done. Percy states that Frank had offered to give the $5,000 back to Baljit Athwal, but that Baljit refused to take the money back. Later on, Robert Woody had legal problems, and Baljit Athwal had taken him to see Frank Carson for legal help. Percy states that Frank Carson did not want any money for this help because he felt he owed this money to Baljit Athwal from the case in Merced County. Frank Carson was able to get the case against Robert Woody dismissed.
Percy states that Robert Woody was talking and told Frank Carson that he knew how to find stolen items, and that Frank had asked Woody to help him look for some books that were stolen. Percy talks about how on August 9th, 2012 Frank Carson was visited by officers at his office, and that Frank had told the officers to put their questions into writing. Percy states that Frank Carson had told the officers that he did not want to deal with Frank Navarro. Percy states that on 8/09/2012 the officers came back to Frank Carson’s office, and that Frank was already upset with the officers.
Percy now starts talking about an alleged incident on 01/02/2012 where it is alleged that Frank Carson was observed by officers in his truck doing surveillance on Michael Cooley’s property. Percy states that Frank Carson was actually watching his own property. Percy states that a clear view of the Carson property could be had where Frank was parked in his truck. Percy talks about how the long barn on the Carson property had been resided, and that they have receipts from Home Depot to prove this. Percy speaks about how Patrick Hampton will talk about his 2015 letter to DA Investigator Steve Jacobson where he offered to help, and that Frank Carson was hired to take his case.
Percy Martinez tells the jury that forensic testing of Korey Kauffman’s clothing disputes the prosecution’s theory on what happened. Percy states that no blood was found on the clothing. No blood was found on the shoes, even though Robert Woody said that the shoes were put back on Korey Kauffman’s feet after the toes were cut off. No blood was found on the socks. The socks did not have any burn marks, even though Robert Woody testified that he burned the socks. Percy states that the forensic evidence shows what appears to be a knife slice in it. Percy tells the jury that two holes consistent with 22 caliber bullet wounds were found in the coat and shirt. Robert Woody testified that he heard one shot. Percy states that Robert Woody testified that Korey Kauffman was wearing a T-shirt, and not a coat. Percy states that no gun shots were reported on the Carson property on 03/30/2012. He says there were no reports of barking dogs. Percy states that despite the close proximity of housing at Pop N Cork Liquors, no witnesses were found to seeing a body buried or a grave being dug. Percy states that Woody testified that the body was buried only 15 inches deep, yet nobody complained of the odor of decomposing flesh. Percy states that no DNA evidence or blood evidence exists in this case. He states that despite years of surveillance, wire taps, and tracking devices that no incriminating evidence has been found.
Percy Martinez now speaks about when the search warrants were done, and how in March of 2014 the defendants were arrested for murder. He tells the jury how Daljit Atwal was transported to the Jail, and how the police car transporting him was involved in a very serious accident that resulted in injuries to Daljit Atwal. Percy states that Daljit Atwal brought a claim against the County for this accident.
Percy Martinez now tells the jury how nearly all the witnesses for the prosecution were criminals that were offered special rewards for their cooperation. He speaks about how they had cases dismissed, and how one person who was charged with murder had his case dismissed. Percy tells the jury that Michael Cooley had a 12 year prison sentence set aside.
Percy now goes into the conspiracy charge against Frank Carson. He states that Frank never told people to not to talk to the police. Percy said that Frank told them that they did not have to talk to the police, but if they did talk to the police that they should always tell the truth. We are now done with day two.
Day 3, 04/20/2015
Today, we were in court to handle three different motions. No jury was present today, and the courtroom had very few people present. The first motion concerned Scott Rollins, who allegedly saw a surveillance tape of an alleged fight between Daljit Atwal and Korey Kauffman in front of Pop N Cork Liquors a few days before Korey Kauffman disappeared. Defense attorney Hans Hjertonsson states that he listened to the CD, and that it is clear that DA Investigator Kirk Bunch is leading Mr. Rollins. Hans: “It is clear that Scott Rollins can’t identify the person who is fighting. Hans states that there is insufficient foundation to say it was Korey Kauffman in the fight. Hans states that it is perplexing what the DA’s theory is on this case. The DA seems to be saying that Korey Kauffman was killed because Daljit Atwal had a dislike for him, and the DA also seems to be saying that Korey Kauffman was killed because Frank Carson was fed up with having his antiques stolen. Hans states that the theories are inconsistent. Hans Hjertonnson states that the prejudicial impact of the Scott Rollins testimony is humongous, and is not corroborated. Hans wants Scott Rollins to come in for a 402 hearing on this issue.
Marlisa Ferreira states that Rollins’ statements are clearly based on the facts of the case. She states that Scott Rollins is familiar with Korey Kauffman from contact that he had with him at the Samaritans. Marlisa states that when Scott Rollins was shown a picture of Korey Kauffman, he said that he thought that Korey had longer blonder hair, and that his face was thicker. Marlisa states that Scott Rollins never said that it was not Korey Kauffman. Marlisa goes into how Korey Kauffman had matured and that this caused him to look differently. Judge Zuniga tells Hans that there is foundation, and that Scott Rollins is subject to cross examination. Motion denied. Where have we heard this before?
The next motion that was heard today was a motion to redact the plea agreement that was made by Robert Woody. Percy Martinez states that he does not want to strike the plea agreement, but to redact wording that mentions that Woody will testify truthfully. Marlisa argues that the defense did not object to this wording in a timely manner. At this time, Judge Zuniga is fumbling with her words in an awkward way that reminds me of Mr. Magoo. She just mumbles sometimes, and seems confused to me. Motion denied.
Now we go into some juicy salacious stuff folks. I have heard rumors of this before. Marlisa Ferreira wrote this motion to suppress allegations against Detective Jon Evers. It seems as though there have been some unsubstantiated allegations of Detective Jon Evers being involved in an incident at home with his estranged wife concerning child porn being found on his laptop computer. Percy Martinez states that the computer was tossed into a swimming pool by Detective Evers during the incident. He stated that the police were called over to the house. This whole incident was investigated, and Judge Zuniga was able to look over the findings. Judge Zuniga did not find anything that was substantiated that would support the allegations made against Detective Evers. So I guess he is “Right as Rain.” Marlisa stated that there is no evidence that Jon Evers lied. Motion granted. As Porky Pig says: “Thea thea, that’s all folks.” We are done with the first week of trial. It is certainly time for a Coors Light (or two.)
Sincerely; William Thomas Jensen (Tom)