Funeral director gets prison time for mishandling remains
JOHNSTOWN – There were plenty of raw emotions on display inside Fulton County Court Monday morning as victims of the now notorious funeral director Brian Barnett delivered venomous victim impact statements prior to Barnett being shipped off to state prison.
“How do I put into words the shock, horror, and heartbreak that Brian Barnett put my family through?” Ellen Hart asked rhetorically.
Hart’s husband, Tom, died of a heart attack at age 64. His body was found decaying inside Barnett’s garage behind the funeral home more than two years after his death.
“Even after finishing our farewells, Brian still caused pain,” asserted Deb Callery, “He failed to complete simple details that he was ethically and legally bound to do.”
Among his many crimes, Barnett pleaded guilty to concealing human corpses, improper burials, scheming to defraud, grand larceny, and operating a funeral home without a license.
A judge sentenced Brian Barnett on Monday morning to 2 1/3 to 7 years.
Barnett says he’s bi-polar and when he got hooked on drugs it turned him into a person “not even his family could recognize.” Listing those excuses, he apologized for his misdeeds.
“The pain I have caused for so many will forever follow me,” he told the court, “I do not feel sorry for myself however because I brought it on myself.”
When Michael LaFountain found out his father’s body was left in a pile of trash, he says the pain, suffering, and sorrow has been constant.
“I want to say that I don’t hate you, in fact I feel nothing for you,” LaMountain told Barnett, “When you walk out of here today I will have to be satisfied that you will at least be in handcuffs and no longer free to live your life as a normal, decent person would.”
Victims delivered impact statements at the sentencing hearing.
“I am still horrified,” Andrea Anderson Healy told Barnett. “I feel like my soul was raped.”
The defense attorney objected to the tone of some of the victims’ statements. The judge was not sympathetic.
“These are the consequences of committing crimes,” the judge responded.
Dan Levy was in court for the sentencing. He’ll have a full report on NewsChannel 13 Live at Noon.