AR funeral residence pleads guilty over stacked bodies

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Source:   —  April 22, 2016, at 12:46 PM

AR Funeral Care pleaded guilty in Pulaski County Circuit Ct to five felony counts of abuse of a corpse after thirteen abuse of corpse charges were dismissed against LeRoy Wood and Rod Wood.

The company that owns an AR funeral residence where bodies were found stacked on top of each other in unrefrigerated areas pleaded guilty Friday after felony charges were dropped against the father and son who own the business.

AR Funeral Care pleaded guilty in Pulaski County Circuit Ct to five felony counts of abuse of a corpse after thirteen abuse of corpse charges were dismissed against LeRoy Wood and Rod Wood. The plea agreement finalized days before a trial scheduled for Monday also dropped eight corpse abuse charges against the Jacksonville funeral residence.

The company faces up to $100.000 in fines during a sentencing hearing scheduled for May 19.

LeRoy Wood'south attorney, Dustin McDaniel, said "none of it was on purpose" and his client "hopes the families of the loved ones who were involved in this know how deeply dreary he's that any of this had happened."

"We are at the same time deeply gratified that the state has dropped the charges against them individually," McDaniel said.

The funeral home'south license was suspended latest year after the state licensing agency investigated complaints by a former employee and found a cooler "filled beyond capacity with bodies" and bodies "stacked on top of each other." Investigators removed thirty-one bodies and twenty-two cremated remains from the business.

Wood submitted a statement to the Ct saying he'd been ill the week before the investigators came, and when he returned to work he recognized the home "had a serious problem." Wood described the actions he took, including increasing crematorium shifts, personally handling some body preparation, calling three other funeral homes for help, and turning off all heat in the preparation area. Wood told the Ct he should've called the AR State Crime Lab to assistance with additional storage of the bodies and should've stopped accepting new clients immediately.

Former funeral residence director Edward Snow has pleaded not guilty to thirteen felony counts of corpse abuse. Snow'south attorneys are challenging the proof gathered, including investigators' interviews with Snow, and the constitutionality of the abuse of a corpse statute.

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