Troubled mortuary owner arrested during pre-trial hearing

One of the former owners of the Johnson Family Mortuary was arrested when he showed up in court for a pre-trial hearing Monday morning.

Dondre Johnson was taken into custody on a child support warrant. He said he hasn’t been able to work and fell behind on his payments, but he thought it was being handled.

Johnson and his wife, Rachel Hardy-Johnson, are accused of taking money from grieving clients who thought they were paying for cremation services. Instead, several rotting bodies were found inside the abandoned Fort Worth funeral home last year.

Prosecutors plan focus mainly on theft charges during the upcoming trial, which carry a stiffer penalty than abuse of corpse. If convicted, Johnson could face up to two years in prison.

The judge on Monday decided to allow some photos of the bodies in court despite the defense argument that they shouldn’t be allowed because they might prejudice the jury.

Johnson’s attorney also asked for a continuance because of the high volume of documents in the case.  The judge said he would make a decision on that request by Tuesday morning.

Johnson’s child support problems should not affect the trial.