Judge Finds Funeral Director Guilty of Abuse of Corpse in Case of Decaying Bodies

A man who ran an unlicensed funeral home in West Philadelphia where police found decaying bodies not properly stored will face probation for abuse of corpse, a Philadelphia judge ruled.

Blair Hawkins, 53, learned his sentence on Monday in front of Judge Patrick F. Dugan. Dugan found Hawkins guilty of three counts of abuse of corpse, according to court documents, and sentenced Hawkins to up to two years of probation for each count.

Other charges against Hawkins were withdrawn.

Police arrested Hawkins, of Laurel Springs, NJ, last year after they found three bodies not properly stored in Hawkins Funeral Service, on the 5300 block of Vine Street. One of the bodies was embalmed in a coffin in a non-ventilated room and two others were decomposing, authorities said at the time. Investigators also discovered two unmarked, non-medical bags of human organs inside the building.

Hawkins at the time told NBC10 that the state investigation that found the questionable conditions, sparked by a tip from the public, was all a result of a misunderstanding.

"The bodies, we have paperwork," Hawkins told NBC10. "They're gonna be cremated. They're authorized. We don't refrigerate bodies that are being cremated."

Hawkins' attorney has filed an appeal.

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