Fort Worth funeral home owner pleads guilty

The former owner of a Fort Worth funeral home pleaded guilty to abusing corpses in court on Friday.

Families say they trusted Dondre Johnson to give their loved ones a proper burial. Instead, he abandoned the bodies in the stifling summer heat.

The families arrived at the courtroom hoping for some closure. But afterward, many were not pleased.

“Are we happy with the result? No,” said victim Kim Davis. “Going home not happy."

The last time we saw Johnson, he was in a suit before he was convicted and sentenced to two years in jail for taking money from families when he ran the Johnson Family Mortuary.

Seven bodies were left to decompose in an unrefrigerated building. Other families never received their loved one's ashes.

No cameras were allowed in court on Friday to show Johnson, this time clad in a dark green jail jumpsuit.

He pleaded guilty to eight cases of abuse of corpse.

“This is over. The district attorney has agreed not to pursue anything further coming out of this,” said Johnson’s attorney, Alex Kim. “I think it closes the door on an ugly chapter for a lot of people."

Johnson was sentenced to one year in jail for each case. However, he'll serve those out with his current jail term for a total of two years.

His brother says the Johnson family had always wanted to express apologies to the families.

"I hate if for both sides, my family and the other families,” said Derrick Johnson. “All we can do is pray."

And in court, Dondre did apologize to five family members. He asked for their forgiveness.

“No punishment is enough. No apology is enough,” said Davis. “We still have families missing their loved ones. We still don't have possession of our father."

Prosecutors say it will be difficult to reunite families with the ashes of their loved ones.

"He was playing a Ponzi scheme with the ashes going from person to person to person,” explained Tarrant County Prosecutor Sid Mody.

“I plead with anyone who ever used his service to please double check your ashes,” pleaded victim Felicia Braxton. “And if you come across 4065, we’d like to have those ashes, please.”

Johnson's defense attorney Alex Kim says as part of the plea agreement, Johnson has agreed to do what he can to help prosecutors reunite families with the ashes of their loved ones.

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