A former employee of Earthman Funeral Home in Houston was arrested over the weekend and charged with abuse of a corpse.
Oct. 5, 2009 View larger E-mail Clip More Video Police were initially investigating James Howard Patton, 39, for allegedly harassing his ex-girlfriend over the Internet. They obtained a search warrant to seize his computers.
Investigators say they found photos of a man's genitalia touching the foot of a nude female corpse on Patton's computer. They also found an image of a female corpse with the legs spread open. An expert determined those photos were taken in 2004.
The ex-girlfriend later identified the man in the photo as Patton. Investigators say they also found other photos of Patton wearing a suit similar to the one seen in the photo.
“I can tell you that the defendant’s male sexual organ was seen in various poses with those of dead bodies,” said Donna Hawkins with the Harris County DA’s Office.
When questioned, Patton admitted that he last abused a corpse "a year ago," according to the probable cause warrant.
That would have been around the time he worked as a funeral director at the Earthman Funeral Home in the 8300 block of Katy Freeway. Records show he was there from June 2008 to October 2008.
Someone with Earthman said that the pictures were not taken there. The individual also said that there’s no evidence that Patton committed the crime while he worked for Earthman.
However, the company did fire Patton as soon as they found out about the allegations.
At this time, Patton has only been charged in connection with the 2004 photos, but the investigation is continuing.
Patton was released from jail after posting a $1,500 bond on the misdemeanor charge.