JOHNSTOWN, N.Y. (News10)-The former funeral home director accused of improperly storing corpses and containers of human remains is expected to plead guilty to the charges against him. The owner and former director of Ehle-Barnett Funeral Home in Johnstown is accused of improperly storing 3 corpses and upwards of 20 containers of human remains.
In January, concerned family members contacted police who then discovered one body inside Barnett’s home and 2 more inside the funeral home’s garage. Fulton County District Attorney Amanda Nellis confirmed today that one of the bodies had been inside the garage for at least one year. News10’s Anya Tucker asked Nellis what the family members in that case were told by Barnett. “They were given ashes that were told that this is your family member. When in fact it wasn’t,” responded Nellis.
Brian Barnett is expected to plead guilty to charges of Grand Larceny, Concealment of a Corpse, Operating a Funeral Home Without a License as well as Improper Burial. Nellis says the deal comes with a prison term of between 2 and 1/3 to 7 years. The DA says that only some of the cremains that were found inside the funeral home had been labeled. The Fulton County Coroner has been busy trying to identify the ones that were not. “Right now I know she has at least two or three that we don’t know who they are,” added Nellis.
Eilene Hill claims Brian Barnett gladly took the money for her aunt’s headstone, cashing the check the very same day, but never delivered the headstone. She says she feels horrible for family members who don’t know where their loved ones remains are. “You know, everybody grieves and has closure in different ways. But he robbed those people of closure,” she added. Nellis says she will be asking for restitution for victims.
Barnett was scheduled to appear in court tomorrow. But during a conference late this afternoon, the judge adjourned the appearance for 2 months so that the police and the coroner can continue to work on the case. We will stay on top of this case and let you know what happens.