Johnstown funeral home owner arrested, facing felony charges

JOHNSTOWN – Police say the owner of the Ehle and Barnett Funeral Home, Brian Barnett, turned himself in Monday night.

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He is facing a long list of charges, including multiple counts of concealment of a human corpse and grand larceny, both felonies.

His arrest comes just over three weeks after police made a grisly discovery at the funeral home.

A Gloversville couple says Barnett stole their beloved mother’s dignity. The family says he made their grief so much worse.

Karen Szabo of Johnstown passed away in January 2020 beloved by her family.

They are still deeply upset about her services at the Ehle and Barnett Funeral Home in Johnstown.

They say her rings were missing and that funeral director Brian Barnett took them out of his pocket when they demanded her jewelry back.

There was no heat, photo display or mass cards for her service.

Her hair was a mess, and she had no makeup. Bruises from her hospital treatment were still visible at the family viewing.

Months later, when it came time for burial after the winter, the family says even with the lid down, her casket was crawling with flies and the stench was almost unbearable.

After getting many complaints, Johnstown police say when they went into the funeral home last month, they found decomposing bodies on the property and cremated remains, some labeled, some not.

Barnett has been unlicensed since November.

His mugshot is a far cry from the smiling face advertising his business.

He’s facing 15 charges now, five of them felonies, including concealment of a human corpse.

He was arraigned in Gloversville, because Johnstown judges recused themselves.

He was released, to be back in court next Tuesday, February 15.

Karen Szabo’s family says it’s been so difficult, and that she deserved much better than how she was treated.

Szabo’s daughter-in-law said that she prays their experience with Barnett makes other families come forward.

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She hopes that he is charged to the full extent and that all of the families receive justice.