Cemetery workers' court date delayed

September 3, 2009 10:03:18 AM PDT
The arraignment for four Burr Oak Cemetery workers, including a manager, has been postponed at least a day.The workers are accused in the scheme to desecrate graves and resell burial plots.

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Suspect Maurice Dailey is free on bond. Carolyn Towns, Keith Nicks and Terrence Nicks remain in custody.

Dailey said he was a puppet and only listening to higher ups.

"This facility, obviously, is a screwed up, dysfunctional organization and a terribly run company. My client was an employee at the lowest possible wrung," said Tom Needham, Dailey attorney.

All of them are charged with desecrating more than 300 grave sites, dumping the remains in a mass grave on the property and then reselling the plots. Investigators say the alleged scheme may have bilked families out of between $100,000 and half a million dollars. The shuffling of bodies still has families wondering where their loved ones are.

"The digging out of human remains without cause or a court order and then dumping them in a burial area, that is certainly a crime in the state of Illinois," said Jack Blakey, assistant Cook Co. state's attorney.

All four suspects were expected to plead not guilty. The arraignment was delayed because Towns still needed a public defender, and one of the other suspects asked for a different judge. It is unknown how long it will take to find a new judge.

The four were formally indicted on felony charges in August with theft, desecrating human remains and conspiracy to dismember bodies.


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