- Associated Press - Wednesday, June 15, 2016

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - A judge has rejected challenges to the legality of Arkansas’ corpse-abuse law made by a former manager of a funeral home where bodies were found stacked on top of each other in unrefrigerated areas.

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (https://bit.ly/1UccTpA ) reports that Pulaski County Circuit Judge Chris Piazza issued his decision Tuesday, clearing the way for prosecutors to use evidence from a 2015 inspection of Arkansas Funeral Care in Jacksonville.

Former funeral home manager Edward Snow is charged with 13 counts of abuse of a corpse. Prosecutors say Snow mishandled the bodies of 13 people whose families had hired the funeral home for burial services.

The funeral home’s license was revoked last year after an investigation of complaints by a former employee at the business. Authorities say an inspection of the facility found a backlog of bodies waiting to be cremated or buried, 31 bodies and 22 sets of cremated remains were removed from the facility.

The funeral home was ordered to close and was fined $10,000.

He has pleaded not guilty.

Snow’s attorney argued that the standard to decide if mistreatment or concealment of a corpse is a criminal act is unconstitutionally vague because it doesn’t specifically describe what is illegal action.

Prosecutors argued that the Arkansas Supreme Court had rejected the same claims challenging the law in a 1995 decision, citing that the law was clearly drafted using commonly understood terms.

The owner of the funeral home, LeRoy Wood, and his son, Rodney Wood, were also charged in the case. They both reached a plea agreement with prosecutors so that charges against them would be dropped in exchange for the business pleading guilty to five counts of corpse-abuse and paying a fine of $50,000.

Snow is set to go to trial in two weeks.

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Information from: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, https://www.arkansasonline.com


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