UPDATE: 11:00 The case of two men accused of abusing corpses in the investigation of a Prichard Funeral Home is headed to the next step. District Judge Spiro Cherogotis said he found enough probable cause to send this bizarre case to a grand jury, but just barely.
The legal threshold to send a case to the grand jury is remarkably low. The judge pointed that out in this morning’s hearing and said that if this was a jury trial right now, it probably would have a different outcome.
Judge Spiro Cherogotis said he was outraged that people were improperly buried in what’s being called an illegal cemetery. He said that was enough to send the case of CEO Cedric McMillian and funeral director Joseph Bonner to a grand jury but said the defense pointed out the many holes in the state’s case.
Cederick McMillian’s attorney argued there’s no solid evidence showing his client had anything to do with the site selection for where the bodies were buried. The attorney for Joseph Bonner argued there’s no evidence showing his client improperly embalmed anyone himself.
What appears not in dispute is that 14 people were buried in a place not certified as a cemetery and that for now is the most solid piece of evidence against the defendants. An investigator with the sheriff’s office says all the bodies will have to be moved at some point they’re still negotiating to find a new location.
MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — Two men accused of improper burials in Mobile County are expected back in court today. Joseph Lee Bonner and Cederick McMillian were both arrested last month after deputies dug up graves at a Prichard cemetery.
This is a case that has upset a lot of people. At least one family has filed a lawsuit claiming their loved one was improperly buried.
Today Heritage Funeral Home Director Joseph Lee Bonner and Cederick McMillian are both expected in court for a preliminary hearing. We may learn more about what investigators say happened. You may remember last month deputies dug up three graves at the cemetery amid allegations of illegal burial procedures.
Bonner has already bonded out of jail and has claimed he is innocent. We haven’t heard from McMillian since his arrest. He is a registered sex offender. He also worked as a prominent minister who would often receive publicity for charitable acts.