A former Mattapan funeral director is charged with stashing a dozen bodies in a storage unit instead of burying them.
According to News Max, the funeral director is facing 278 charges after prosecutors say Joseph O’Donnell, 56, kept the decomposing corpses in a Weymouth storage facility. O’Donnell is also charged with not holding a license despite handling more than 200 funerals and cremations. He also stole about $150,000 in funeral pre-payments.
He ran O’Donnell and Mulry Funeral Home on Neponset Avenue in Dorchester, but he lost his license back in 2008. An investigation turned up 12 bodies at the Weymouth storage unit in July.
The former Mattapan funeral director charged is also believed to have given many families ashes belonging to someone other than their loved ones, according to prosecutors.
Additionally, authorities say O’Donnell agreed to “pre-need contracts” with 31 people to put money in a trust for use when the client died. But when asked by police where the money was, he allegedly told them, “It’s all gone.”
Investigators have identified 11 of the bodies found in Weymouth, and the former Mattapan funeral director has been charged with larceny and improper disposal of those bodies. Police also believe that a 12th body found in Weymouth, which has not been identified, is that of an adult female. O’Donnell was not charged with any crimes relating to that body, because investigators have not found evidence that he was paid to dispose of it.
O’Donnell’s alleged crimes occurred between 2009, when his funeral director’s license expired, and 2013, when the O’Donnell-Mulry Funeral Home on Neponset Avenue closed.
During that time, O’Donnell also participated in at least 201 funerals, burials, and cremations and forged signatures on death certificates, said prosecutors.
In addition to the charges of larceny and improper disposal of bodies, the grand jury also indicted O’Donnell on charges of embezzlement. At least 31 of his clients deposited money with the funeral home for costs of future services. Many of the clients were over 60, and some of the deposits were for up to $7,000, the district attorney said. Prosecutors allege that O’Donnell spent those deposits, nearly $150,000, for his own purposes.
Since his arrest in April, the former Mattapan funeral director charged has been held on $10,000 cash bail on the licensing charges. He will return to the Dorchester Division of Boston Municipal Court Thursday for an administrative hearing on the larceny charges.