MODESTO – The husband and father of a former Stanislaus County sheriff’s detective appeared in court Friday for the first time since the men were arrested last month on suspicion of conspiring to forcibly enter homes and cultivating marijuana.
A filed criminal complaint alleges Kari Abbey’s husband, Bennie Taylor, and her father, James Abbey, unlawfully entered rental homes owned by Abbey or her family.
In a separate case, Kari Abbey awaits trial on charges of conspiracy to commit unlawful evictions, embezzlement from the Sheriff’s Department, marijuana cultivation and child endangerment.
Taylor and James Abbey appeared briefly Friday in Stanislaus County Superior Court for their arraignment, but only Taylor was arraigned. He pleaded not guilty, Rosalio Ahumada reports in the Modesto Bee.
Kirk McAllister, Taylor’s attorney, asked Judge Valli Israels for more time so Abbey could hire his own attorney. The judge scheduled both defendants to return to court May 11 — Taylor will return for a pretrial hearing and Abbey will return to be arraigned.
Taylor remains free on $100,000 bail and James Abbey remains free on $45,000 bail.
Kari Abbey — who is free on $1 million bail — was in the courtroom Friday with several others who gathered to support the defendants.
Among the alleged crimes listed in the complaint, authorities believe James Abbey entered a duplex in the 1700 block of Donald Street in west Modesto and turned off the power Sept. 24, 2010.
The alleged incident happened on the same day and location where a deadly shooting later occurred. That violent confrontation sparked the investigation into Abbey and her family.
Kari Abbey initially was charged with second-degree murder and voluntary manslaughter in connection with the off-duty shooting death of Rita Elias, 31, who brandished a BB gun during the confrontation.
At the end of Kari Abbey’s preliminary hearing in December, Judge Ricardo Córdova dismissed the murder and manslaughter charges.
The judge, however, determined there was enough evidence for her to stand trial on the remaining four felony charges. Córdova has scheduled her trial to start Sept. 25.
The former detective’s husband and father will appear for their hearing in May in Córdova’s courtroom.
The marijuana charges filed against Taylor and James Abbey stem from a March 30, 2011, search of property Abbey shared with her father, according to the criminal complaint.
Investigators found 106 marijuana plants, ranging from 16 to 59 inches tall, growing in Abbey’s home. They also found grow lights activated by timers, a watering system and an air-filtering system that blew out the plants’ pungent smell and brought in fresh air for optimal growing conditions.
Prosecutors additionally have charged James Abbey with possessing a dangerous weapon (a sawed-off shotgun) and receiving a stolen handgun, according to the criminal complaint.
Taylor also is accused of child endangerment, illegally possessing steroids, possessing an assault weapon and illegally carrying a concealed handgun in a vehicle.
Investigators found a .22-caliber handgun in a kitchen drawer, an AR-15 rifle underneath a mattress with an ammunition magazine clipped in and a shotgun underneath cushions of a living room couch.
The child endangerment charge stems from an allegation that the weapons were accessible to Kari Abbey’s children.