[Hpn] Homeless murder victim's mom awarded $425,000 for improper burial in Tampa FL USA (fwd) in Tampa FL USA (fwd)

Tom Boland wgcp@earthlink.net
Sat, 27 Jan 2001 13:16:19 -0800 (PST)


FWD - 2 AP versions of the story, both from 24 January 2001: "Jurors on Tuesday ordered Stone's Funeral Home Inc. in Tampa to pay Amelia Muldrow $425,000 in damages _ $300,000 of it punitive _ for the improper burial [of a homeless murder victim]." -- AP http://newsfinder.arinet.com/fpweb/fp.dll/$stargeneral/htm/x_dv.htm/_ibyx/cg0302 6/_itox/starnet/_svc/news/_Id/699303969/_k/2jcsVkuLKevXxFCy FWD Associated Press - AP Wire Service - Jan 24, 2001 BAGS OF TRASH DOUND STUFFED IN PAUPER'S COFFIN IN FLORIDA GRAVE By PAT LEISNER Associated Press Writer TAMPA, Fla. (AP) _ Three garbage bags stuffed with biohazard waste and empty beer bottles were found in the coffin of a murder victim when his remains were exhumed from a pauper's grave. When the body of Robert Muldrow III was interred, it was not embalmed, not clothed and was still wrapped in a body bag, family attorney Karen Doering said Wednesday. ``He was discarded with the trash,'' Muldrow's mother, Amelia Muldrow, said Wednesday. Jurors on Tuesday ordered Stone's Funeral Home Inc. in Tampa to pay Amelia Muldrow $425,000 in damages _ $300,000 of it punitive _ for the improper burial. ``I cannot imagine how anyone could treat another human being this way,'' Amelia Muldrow said from her home in Temple Hills, Md., just outside Washington, D.C. ``The body was as it had come from the medical examiner's office and dropped in the coffin, then they threw in the bags of biohazard waste and it went into the ground,'' Doering said. Joe Fritz, attorney for the funeral home, had no comment Wednesday and said Stone's Funeral Home would not discuss the case, either. The funeral home did not present a defense or send a representative to the two-day trial. The judge entered a default judgment, leaving the jury to consider only damages. Another carnival worker is serving a life sentence in Muldrow's death. For Amelia Muldrow, the nightmare started in 1997. Robert Muldrow, 36, a carnival worker who ran the merry-go-round, was homeless at the time he was killed. His head had been bashed. His body was discovered in an abandoned warehouse on Jan. 6, 1997. A few feet away, his wallet was found containing a Maryland driver's license, his sister Shari Muldrow's business card with a toll-free telephone number, his Social Security card and his employee identification badge, Doering said. ``Anyone who made any effort would easily have been able to contact his family,'' Doering said. ``Amazingly, no one did.'' Muldrow was buried as an indigent under a Hillsborough County program, the attorney said. The county paid $600 for the burial. Mudrow had been close to his family and telephoned often as he moved from town to town. His mother began worrying as months passed with no word. She knew her son had had a drug problem and thought if he were in trouble he would call. It was nine months before she learned he was dead. In 1998, Doering sued the city, the county and Stone's Funeral Home over the delay, saying it lead to Robert Muldrow's burial in an unmarked grave. The county settled for $29,000 before the case went to trial. That money enabled Amelia Muldrow to exhume her son's body on Jan. 9 _ that's when the trash was found. He was buried at Mt. Olivet Catholic Cemetery in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 12. The judge dismissed the case against the city, finding that police were not negligent. Doering said she will appeal. The big black garbage bags in the coffin contained four empty beer bottles, an empty gin bottle, an empty beer can, five empty containers of embalming fluid, a hospital identification wristband belonging to someone else, intravenous materials, needles, bandages with dried brownish stains believed to be blood and used catheters, Doering said. ``Jurors were appalled at the callousness, the indignity, the improper burial,'' Doering said. ``Not only did the funeral home not pay to have the biohazardous waste hauled off, they also collected a check from the taxpayers for the burial. It was a scam.'' To Amelia Muldrow the jury verdict was ``a bittersweet victory. Somebody had compassion for my son.'' AP-ES-01-24-01 1631EST Received Id AP1010245206B88F on Jan 24 2001 15:33 http://newsfinder.arinet.com/fpweb/fp.dll/$stargeneral/htm/x_dv.htm/_ibyx/cg0302 6/_itox/starnet/_svc/news/_Id/699348964/_k/02I7A1apx7W56roM FWD Associated Press - AP Wire Service - Jan 24, 2001 FLORIDA JURY AWARDS $425,000 FOR IMPROPER BURIAL OF MURDER VICTIM By PAT LEISNER Associated Press Writer TAMPA, Fla. (AP) _ A jury awarded $425,000 to the mother of a murder victim who was buried in an unmarked grave in a coffin filled with hazardous waste and beer bottles. Stone's Funeral Home Inc. in Tampa was ordered to pay Amelia Muldrow $125,000 in compensatory and $300,000 in punitive damages for the improper burial of her son, Robert Muldrow. Joe Fritz, attorney for the funeral home, said Wednesday that Stone's would not discuss the case. The funeral home did not present a defense or send a representative to the two-day trial, which ended Tuesday. A default judgment was entered, leaving the jury to decide damages. Muldrow, a 36-year-old carnival worker, was found dead in an abandoned warehouse in January 1997. His head had been bashed. Muldrow was homeless at the time and was buried as an indigent. Attorney Karen Doering said Wednesday that Muldrow's wallet, containing identification, was found near his body. ``Anyone who made any effort would easily have been able to contact his family,'' she said. ``Amazingly, no one did.'' His mother learned that he was dead nine months later. In 1998, Doering filed a lawsuit against the city, the county and the funeral home over the delay, saying it led to Muldrow's burial in an unmarked grave. A judge dismissed the case against the city last week. But, using money obtained from a $29,000 pretrial settlement with the county, Amelia Muldrow had the body exhumed earlier this month. It was found wrapped in a body bag and had not been embalmed, Doering said. The coffin contained three trash bags filled with medical waste and liquor bottles, she said. ``He was discarded with the trash,'' Amelia Muldrow said. ``I cannot imagine how anyone could treat another human being this way.'' ``The body was as it had come from the medical examiner's office and dropped in the coffin, then they threw in the bags of biohazard waste and it went into the ground,'' Doering said. AP-CS-01-24-01 2247EST Received Id AP1010249C2C9D89 on Jan 24 2001 21:48 END FORWARD **In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, this material is distributed without charge or profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving this type of information for non-profit research and educational purposes only.** For CONSTANTLY UPDATING HOMELESS NEWS, BOOKMARK HPN Current Archives: Visit HPN for CONSTANTLY UPDATING NEWS on Homeless People: *************************************************************** Over 10,000 articles by or via homeless & ex-homeless people Been Homeless? Then JOIN! EMAIL Tom Boland <wgcp@earthlink.net> Nothing About Us Without Us - Democratize Public Policy ***************************************************************