A former mortuary owner whose trial is scheduled Tuesday on a felony theft charge was arrested on an unrelated Dallas County warrant when he showed up for court Monday morning in Fort Worth.
Dondre Johnson, 41, was to remain in Tarrant County Jail on Monday night under an order from Tarrant County Judge Elizabeth Beach.
Johnson, of Arlington, was arrested by Tarrant County court security guards on a child-support warrant when he arrived for a pre-trial appearance Monday. His trial on one felony charge of theft of $1,500 to $20,000 — stemming from his time as co-owner of the Johnson Family Mortuary in Fort Worth — begins with jury selection Tuesday. Johnson is also facing seven misdemeanor charges of abuse of a corpse.
If convicted of the theft charge, he faces a maximum of two years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
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Johnson’s attorney, Alexander Kim, asked Beach for a continuance, saying he needed more time to review evidence presented last week. Beach did not grant the continuance.
Johnson and his wife, Rachel Hardy-Johnson, 35, were accused of accepting payments and several bodies but failing to deliver services. Last June, their landlord called police to report finding bodies in the building after he ordered the owners to vacate for not paying rent.
Officials said that all but one of the eight bodies — six adults and two stillborn infants —showed signs of advanced decomposition. None of the bodies had signs of trauma or foul play, according to the Tarrant County medical examiner's office.
Rachel Hardy Johnson began serving a 21-month federal prison sentence for food stamp benefit fraud in August. She also was also ordered to pay $76,494 in restitution in that case, which is unrelated to the others.
Ryan Osborne, 817-390-7684