Jeffrey Allen, right, leads Anthony Baumgartner and Stephen Harkness into their preliminary hearing in Boone District Court in Burlington, Ky. on January 17.
(Photo: Patrick Reddy, The Cincinnati Enquirer)
BURLINGTON, Ky. -- Three men charged with murder, kidnapping, abuse of a corpse and tampering with physical evidence told detectives they acted as vigilantes to rid southern Boone County, Ky., of a heroin dealer.
"They told detectives they did not like the fact people were selling drugs in the Walton/Verona area," Boone County Sheriff's Detective Jeremy Rosing said during the trio's preliminary hearing Thursday in Boone District Court. "They planned out this crime at least a week prior to committing it."
After hearing Rosing's testimony, Judge Charles Moore ruled there was enough evidence to send the case to a grand jury. He also denied bond for the three.
Jeffrey Allen, 21, of Verona, Ky.; Anthony Baumgartner, 23, of Florence, Ky.; and Stephen Harkness, 22, of Verona; are charged in the death of Daniel Delfin, 19, of Walton, Ky.
The three defendants have been held in the Boone County jail since Tuesday. All three were represented by public defenders.
Rosing said the defendants killed Delfin on Jan. 9. Delfin was a convicted drug dealer.
Delfin was reported missing Sunday by his sister, but by that time, deputies say, he was already dead.
Baumgartner told detectives the plan was to just beat up Delfin and make him reveal the source of the illegal drugs being sold, Rosing said. The trio lured Delfin with the ruse of buying drugs from him, he said.
When Delfin passed out during the beating, Allen told Rosing he killed Delfin.
"Mr. Allen slit his throat and stabbed him underneath the rib cage up into the heart and twisted the knife and pulled it out," Rosing said. "They bound Mr. Delfin and dragged him back into the field where he was found. They rolled the body down the hill and placed him in a bunch of brush."
Over the next few days the defendants returned to dismember the body, Rosing said. Detectives have recovered various types of cutting instruments including a reciprocating saw blade and hatchet.
Delfin's torso and legs were found Tuesday in a field. His head, arms and feet have not been recovered. Rosing said the defendants told detectives they threw the missing body parts in a trash bin in Florence. No body parts were found during an extensive search of the landfill where the bin's contents were taken.
Rosing testified that Harkness mainly drove the vehicle around as his co-defendants picked up Delfin, beat him and then disposed of his body parts around Boone County.
Jim Hannah, The Cincinnati Enquirer