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DENVER, Colorado – A former owner of a Colorado funeral home was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison on Tuesday for dissecting 560 corpses and selling body parts without permission to defraud relatives of the dead. was sentenced.

Megan Hess, 46, He pleaded guilty to fraud in July. From the same building in Montrose, Colorado, she ran a funeral home Sunset Mesa and a donor service that donated body parts. A term of 20 years was the maximum term allowed by law.

Her 69-year-old mother, Shirley Koch, also pleaded guilty to fraud and was sentenced to 15 years in prison. Her Koch’s central role was to mutilate her remains, court records show.

“Hess and Koch have used the funeral home to essentially steal bodies and body parts using fraudulent or falsified donor forms,” ​​prosecutor Tim Neff said. said in court filings. “Hess and Koch’s actions have caused immeasurable emotional distress to their families and close relatives.”

The federal lawsuit was caused by a 2016-2018 Reuters investigative series on the sale of body parts in the United States, a virtually unregulated industry.

Former workers told Reuters that Hess and Koch dismembered the bodies without authorization.

In the filing, prosecutors highlighted the “creepy nature” of Hess’ plan, describing it as one of the most significant body part cases in recent U.S. history.

At Tuesday’s sentencing hearing in Grand Junction, Colorado, U.S. District Judge Christine Arguello said, “This is the most emotionally draining case I’ve ever experienced on the bench.

“Defendant Hess’ refusal to accept any responsibility for his actions is a concern to the court.”

A judge ordered Hess and Koch sent to prison immediately.

Hess’ lawyers say Hess has been unfairly vilified as a “witch”, “monster” and “ghoul”, but instead she is a “broken human being” whose behavior has been attributed to trauma at the age of 18. It may have been caused by a sexual brain injury.In court Tuesday, Hess refused to speak to a judge.

Koch apologized to the judge and said he was responsible for his actions.

Twenty-six victims describe their fear of learning what happened to their loved ones.

Erin Smith sold her shoulders, knees and legs for profit, saying, “Our dear mother, they tore her to pieces. There’s not even a name for a crime this heinous.”

Tina Shannon, whose mother was amputated against her will, said in court: I’m never okay Former owner of Colorado funeral home sentenced to 20 years for selling body parts

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