West Philly funeral home director caught with rotting bodies convicted
Festering, maggot-ridden bodies decayed beyond recognition and garbage bags filled with human organs were found in the unlicensed funeral home.
A West Philly funeral home director who had decaying dead bodies stashed inside his business has been convicted of abusing corpses, District Attorney Seth Williams announced Tuesday.
Blair Hawkins, 53, was fined $12,000 and sentenced to six years probation, two years per rotting corpse found in his business, after being found guilty of three charges of abuse of corpse on Monday,the DA’s office said.
Regulators went to inspect Hawkins Funeral Home after receiving tips he was still receiving bodies despite the business being unlicensed, authorities said after he was arrested last year.
Hawkins attempted to prevent inspectors from entering what he called “the junk room."
Inside the hot, unventilated room, they discovered the corpse of Harvey Vaughn, which had been decomposing for four days, prosecutors said.
In a prep room, inspectors found Ross Carter, who was recently deceased.
“Mr. Carter was found on a gurney with flies and maggots covering his body,” Williams’ spokesman Cameron Kline said in an email. “He had been covered up with a blanket, and trash bags had been left on top of the body.”
The third and final body was Frank Hopkins. His funeralservices were held in July and he was supposed to be cremated. Instead his body was left in the unventilated, hot prep room for more than a month.
“The body was decayed past the point of recognition,” Kline said.
Meanwhile, the room contained garbage bags filled with human organs of indeterminate origin, and the prep table which is required to be cleaned with bleach was caked with human blood and fluid, Kline said.
The discovery of the bodies inside Hawkins’ funeral home came after state inspectors began visiting Philly funeral homes in the wake of a similar case a month prior.
Complaints of a foul smell from a North Philly warehouse led to the discovery of two rotting corpses inside cardboard boxes store in a warehouse next to a funeral home.
The funeral director responsible,Janet Powell-Daley, 73,owner of Powell Funeral Home at West Hagert Street and North 27thStreet,was also charged with abusingcorpses in that case. She and her funeral home were subsequentlystripped of their license.
Thecriminal case against Powell-Daleyis still pending. Her next hearing is scheduled forNov. 14.