By Marice Richter
DALLAS (Reuters) - The operators of a Fort Worth mortuary facing corpse abuse charges after eight decaying bodies were found on its premises last year have been hit with new criminal charges, a prosecutor's office said on Tuesday.
A Tarrant County grand jury has indicted Johnson Family Mortuary owners Dondre Johnson, 40, and Rachel Hardy, 35, for theft of $1,500 to $20,000 for accepting payment from clients "in exchange for promising services they did not intend to deliver," the Tarrant County District Attorney's Office said in a statement.
Felony theft carries a sentence of up to two years in prison. The pair was not immediately available to comment on the latest charges.
The owners were charged with corpse abuse and arrested by Fort Worth police last July after the discovery of eight decomposing bodies inside their vacated mortuary building.
The business was evicted from its building for nonpayment of rent. The bodies were supposed to have been cremated but were instead left unattended in unrefrigerated rooms, police said.
Johnson denied after his arrest last year that the bodies were mishandled and said the situation was a misunderstanding related to the eviction.
One police officer noted that "the odor of decaying flesh could be smelled in the parking lot outside the building," according to court papers.
(Writing by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Peter Cooney)