On Wednesday September 23, 2015 a Fort Worth jury took all of about an hour to issue a unanimous judgment of “guilty” in the case of one Dondre Johnson, the owner of Johnson Family Mortuary. The guilty verdict was made in relation to two charges of theft against Johnson, who was accused of taking money for services that he never performed.
Mortuary Home Owner Takes Money, Doesn’t Perform Services
According to the jury’s verdict, as well as news reports detailing the case, Mr. Johnson took money from families of deceased victims, yet did not perform the services for which the money was paid. Specifically, Dondre Johnson was accused of taking money on multiple accounts for multiple (and unrelated) cremation requests. Instead of cremating the bodies as he had agreed to do, Johnson allowed the bodies to decompose. In addition to two charges of felony theft, Dondre Johnson was also charged with multiple misdemeanor counts of abuse of a corpse.According to one report, a total of eight bodies were found in various states of decomposition within the funeral home. The bodies were detected when a person entered the funeral home and noticed a horrible smell.
What’s more, Dondre Johnson was also accused of giving the wrong set of ashes to family members on more than one account.
Penalties that Johnson Will Face
The two counts of felony theft and various misdemeanor convictions will carry significant penalties. Johnson may face up to two years in prison, as well as a fine of up to $10,000.
Johnson’s lawyer attempted to prove his innocence, claiming that Johnson was merely an employee of Johnson Family Mortuary, and that Johnson’s wife, Rachel Hardy-Johnson, was the true owner. Under vicarious liability, said Johnson’s lawyer, Alexander Kim, Hardy-Johnson should have been responsible for the actions of her employees, despite the fact that it was a family business. He even recruited witnesses to testify to the fact that Hardy-Johnson ran the show. Despite the attempt, though, the jury didn’t buy it, and held Dondre Johnson responsible.
Seek Legal Support from a Criminal Defense Attorney Today
Being charged with felony theft—or any other felony crime—is a serious offense. If you are facing criminal charges in Fort Worth, it is within your best interest to seek the counsel of an experienced criminal defense attorney today. At the Fulgham Law Firm, P.C., we won’t stop advocating for you! To learn more about your rights as an accused person, call our offices today at 817-764-1392.