Real estate firm accused in tree trimmer's death - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Real estate firm accused in tree trimmer's death

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - The president of a La Mesa-based business that buys and renovates houses pleaded not guilty Wednesday to several criminal charges, including violating safety standards, stemming from a fatal tree-trimming accident last year.

David Scott Wolfe and his company, Three Frogs Inc., are charged with a violation of OSHA standards in connection with the Nov. 12 accident that killed Joshua Pudsey.

Pudsey, 42, was trimming trees using a cherry picker outside the La Mesa home of his employer when a large branch from a 60-foot eucalyptus tree fell on him, crushing his head.

Wolfe and two of his employees, Chief Financial Officer Jonathan D. Cox and Chief Operating Officer John Murphy, also face charges of unemployment insurance fraud and failure to have workers' compensation insurance.

Wolfe, 48, faces 6 1/2 years in prison if convicted. Cox, 34, and Murphy, 36, face nearly five years behind bars if convicted, while Three Frogs could be fined up to $1.5 million, said prosecutor Jeanie Cetlinski.

Judge Jeffrey Fraser scheduled a readiness conference for July 8 and a preliminary hearing for Aug. 26.

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