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A couple accused of abandoning nearly 200 bodies at the Colorado funeral home they owned allegedly used payments for cremations and burials for vehicles, cryptocurrency, a $1,500 dinner in Las Vegas and other personal items.
FBI Agent Andrew Cohen testified in front of a packed courtroom Thursday that Jon and Carie Hallford bought a GMC Yukon and an Infiniti for more than $120,000 with payments from families of the deceased, according to The Associated Press. The money was reportedly enough to cover cremation costs for two times the bodies found decomposing in their business’ storage facility in Penrose.
Adam Steigerwald, Jon’s lawyer, argued that the prosecution has not proven the money from their business account was spent to conceal the source of the funds, meaning it does not fit the crime of money laundering. He also said the couple used money from the federal Small Business Administration to buy the Yukon.
Cohen said the money – which they received as an adjustment to a pandemic-era small business loan – used to buy the Yukon was obtained fraudulently after Jon lied and said he was not behind on child support payments.
COLORADO FUNERAL HOME OWNERS FACE CHARGES AFTER DISCOVERY OF 190 DECOMPOSING BODIES
Pictured here are the mugshots of Jon Hallford, left, and Carie Hallford, right, the owners of Return to Nature Funeral Home in Colorado Springs, Colorado. (Muskogee County Sheriff’s Office via AP, File)
The testimony about the couple’s spending practices came during a hearing where a judge decided prosecutors presented enough evidence to show Jon should stand trial. It was previously decided Carie will also stand trial.
Both Jon and Carie were arrested in Oklahoma in November after each being charged with 190 counts of abuse of a corpse, five counts of theft, four counts of money laundering and over 50 counts of forgery. Neither one of them has entered a plea yet.
COLORADO FUNERAL HOME OWNER WHO ALLEGEDLY LEFT ALMOST 200 BODIES TO ROT WILL APPEAR IN COURT
During an earlier hearing for Carie, text messages were presented by prosecutors that suggested the Hallfords tried to cover up their financial struggles by leaving the bodies at the Penrose facility.
Cohen testified that the storage facility had makeshift refrigeration units that were not in use when the decaying bodies were discovered inside the maggot-infested building.
Jon and Carie Hallford also had a storage facility for their business in Penrose, Colorado, which is where the 190 decaying bodies were found. (Jerilee Bennett/The Gazette via AP, File)
According to prosecutors, Jon was concerned about getting caught as far back as 2020 and suggested they dump the bodies in a big hole before treating them with lye or setting them on fire.
“My one and only focus is keeping us out of jail,” he wrote in one text message, prosecutors alleged.
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Jon is out of jail after posting a $100,000 bond in late January while Carie remains in jail on the same amount.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.