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Penrose funeral home co-owner will face trial on all charges, bond reduced

Posted at 9:02 PM, Jan 17, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-18 00:34:42-05

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — During a court hearing on Wednesday, a judge ruled that Carie Hallford, one of the owners of the Return to Nature funeral home, will go to trial.

Hallford will face 260 counts including 190 counts of abuse of a corpse, four counts of money laundering, five counts of theft, and 61 counts of forgery. She and her husband, Jon Hallford, are accused of improperly storing 190 bodies inside the funeral home in Penrose.

In his findings, the judge ruled there was enough probable cause to send Carie to trial on all charges. He said the evidence presented by prosecutors in the preliminary hearing showed there was reason to believe the Hallfords were running into financial difficulty and realized they could not provide the services they said they would give to clients through the Return to Nature funeral home.

The judge said there was probable cause to believe Carie Hallford tried to hide what was happening and began storing bodies inside the Penrose funeral home as part of a continuing act.

Hallford's defense argued a recent change in Colorado law meant the statute of limitations had passed for some of the bodies inside the funeral home. The judge said he would not consider that and ruled the statute of limitations in this case begins on the date the bodies were discovered, which he said is in line with the updated law.

Samantha Naranjo said her grandmother's body was identified inside the funeral home. She was present for the court hearing on Wednesday and said this is a win for their loved ones and alleged victims in the case.

“I do appreciate, truly, truly appreciate him [the judge] counting in the 190 bodies and all those charges," she said. "I am glad and very grateful that he did include all of those because it’s only fair that every one of those bodies get the same justice.”

The judge also reduced Carie Hallford’s bond from $2 million cash only to $100,000 cash surety during a subsequent bond hearing on Wednesday. The judge did the same for her husband, Jon Hallford, two weeks ago at his bond hearing. He said he does not think the two are a threat to public safety and the new bond is still ten times higher than what is normally given for the level of the offense.

Once released, Jon and Carie Hallford will have to wear an ankle monitor, surrender their passport, check in with the court three times a week, and avoid contact with family members of the alleged victims in the case.

Carie Hallford will be back in court on March 21 for a disposition and arraignment hearing. Her husband, Jon Hallford, will appear in court on Feb. 8 for a preliminary hearing.
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