Prominent Modesto criminal defense attorney Frank Carson and eight others, including three California Highway Patrol officers, were arrested Friday for their suspected involvement in the 2012 death of Korey Kauffman. The 26-year-old Turlock man’s body was found in Mariposa County a year and a half after he went missing.

A 326-page arrest affidavit details an alleged conspiracy with Carson as its ringleader. The defense attorney, who last year ran for district attorney, is described as a vengeful property owner trying to send a message to people allegedly stealing scrap metal and antiques from his property in Turlock.

Authorities say Kauffman was known for “scrapping,” street slang for stealing metals to sell to recyclers. On the night of his disappearance, Kauffman left a friend’s home to steal irrigation pipes from Carson’s property, according to the affidavit.

“The whole scrapper life, I didn’t approve of it,” said Tony Kauffman, the victim’s father. “You know how fathers are with their sons, we tend to be harder on them. But he chose his own path. He was a good kid with a good heart and he didn’t deserve what he got.”

The Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department has released the arrest affidavit, which lists nine people arrested, including Carson’s wife, two Turlock business owners and the three CHP officers.

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