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Prominent defense attorney, Ceres resident among 14 arrrested for murder of Turlock man
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Members of the Stanislaus County Sheriff's Office and California Department of Justice were accompanied by SWAT teams from the Manteca Police Department while they investigated defense attorney Frank Carson's Ninth Street properties in Turlock on Friday, following his arrest for murder earlier that day. - photo by SABRA STAFFORD/The Courier

Defense attorney and one-time Stanislaus County district attorney candidate Frank Carson has been arrested for the murder of Turlock resident Korey Kauffman, according to the Stanislaus County Sheriff's Department.

The arrest of Carson is coupled with the arrest of multiple individuals, including California Highway Patrol officers Eddie Quintanar, Walter Wells and Scott McFarlane as well as businessmen Baljit Atwal of Ceres and brother Daljit Atwal, who own two Pop-N-Cork stores in Turlock.

A 326-page affidavit posted on the Stanislaus County Sheriff's Department indicates that Carson knew many criminals in the community and used them for violent acts on others. Authorities say those contacts led to the death of Kauffman whose body turned up near Coulterville.

On the night of March 29, 2012, Kauffman was at Michael Cooley's home in the 1300 block of Lander Avenue. The back of the Lander Avenue property abuts up to the back of Carson's Ninth Street property. Cooley admits that he and Kauffman were thinking of sneaking onto Carson's property that night and taking some irrigation pipes that had been put out. But Cooley said he had second thoughts when he saw some men on Carson's property.

"I saw people there and decided not to go," Cooley said. "It just gave me a bad feeling and I told Korey not to go either."

Allegations of theft had instigated an ongoing dispute between Cooley and Carson long before the night Kauffman vanished.

The Turlock Police Department's log of calls for service indicate that on Feb. 6, 2011, officers were dispatched to the 1300 block of Lander to assist the Stanislaus County Sheriff's Department. The call narrative states Carson contacted the sheriff's department about property he believed was stolen out of a cargo container on his land. Carson told law enforcement he had followed the trail back to a house in the 1300 block of Lander Avenue and believed his property was being hidden there. The house was being occupied by Cooley and he agreed to let law enforcement search the premises. Nothing was found and no arrest was made.

On Feb. 23, 2011, a call was made to TPD by Carson's wife reporting Carson and an unknown man, later identified as Cooley, were in a verbal dispute over possible stolen property. The call log indicates police made contact with the two men outside the home in the 1300 block of Lander Avenue. Again, no stolen property was recovered and no arrests were made.

On Jan. 2, 2012, a TPD officer investigating a suspicious vehicle found Carson sitting in a parked car in the 100 block of Montana, which is directly diagonal from where Cooley resided.

In 2013, investigators served a search warrant at property owned by Carson. The search warrant was served prior to Kauffman's remains being unearthed in the Stanislaus National Forest in August 2013.

Investigators have previously stated Kauffman was headed over to a property in the 800 block of Ninth Street when he disappeared.

On Friday, Stanislaus County Sheriff's Office and California Department of Justice investigators were at Carson's Ninth Street properties, accompanied by SWAT units from the Manteca Police Department. Investigators spent hours going in and out of the properties, that included two homes and multiple outbuildings and trailers.

Additional details will be forthcoming and the story will be updated.