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Owners of Penrose funeral home headed for trial, confronted by families in court

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) - Both owners of the Penrose funeral home, Return to Nature, will stand trial after nearly 200 decomposing bodies were found improperly stored.

The judge just bound Jon Hallford over for trial, meaning the funeral home owners will be tried on charges of money laundering, abuse of corpses, forgery, and theft.

In a two-hour hearing, the prosecution presented evidence that Jon and his wife Carie bought and sold two vehicles in an attempt to conceal the money they were receiving to bury and cremate dead human remains. The judge found enough evidence to say Jon Hallford may have committed money laundering.

The prosecution presented evidence that Jon and Carie bought and sold two vehicles, a GMC Yukon and an Infinity, in an alleged attempt to conceal the monies they received through burying and cremating human remains, or lack thereof, according to investigators.

Hallford's defense attorney pushed back by claiming there was no attempt by Hallford to conceal the purchase or sale of the vehicles, something they claim is needed to prove the money laundering charges.

El Paso County Judge William Moller listened to both arguments and decided to bind Jon Hallford over for trial on the money laundering charges.

4th Judicial District Attorney, Michael Allen, clarified at a press conference that the hearing was only regarding the money laundering charges because Jon bonded out. Allen said that because of Colorado law, defendants in custody get a preliminary hearing on all felony charges, defendants in or out of custody get a preliminary hearing on felony charges that have a mandatory sentence in the Department of Corrections, and defendants who have bonded out get preliminary hearings on felonies that are class three or above. Money laundering is a class three felony.

While in court, families and KRDO13 Investigates confronted him. They were left in complete silence as Jon didn't utter a word.

"Jon you previously told your wife that you didn't give an f about this community and you wanted to stay out of f-ing prison. Is that still how you feel?" KRDO13 Investigates asked and was met with silence.

"Where's the rest of my son's body? The hundred pounds he lost during decomposition while he laid in your funeral home. Where is it, Jon? Did you flush it down the toilet? Water cremation?" A family member yelled, again receiving no response.

The next step in this process is a hearing where both Jon and Carrie Hallford will either plead guilty or not guilty. Those hearings will be on the same day, March 21.

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Sean Rice

Sean is reporter with the 13 Investigates team. Learn more about him here.


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