A Philadelphia funeral director, depicted in court as a Jekyll and Hyde, was sentenced yesterday to 31/2 to 10 years in prison after admitting his role in a multimillion-dollar scheme in which body parts were stolen from the dead for use in surgery.
"It's like a Frankenstein movie," a relative of a victim told Common Pleas Court Judge Glenn Bronson.
James A. McCafferty Jr., 38, of Frankford, had pleaded guilty to his role in a multistate ring that stole body parts, and had agreed to cooperate in the trial of two other morticians. They are Louis Garzone, 66, of Kensington, and his brother Gerald, 48, of North Wales; both have been sentenced to eight to 29 years in prison.
McCafferty and the Garzone brothers owned Liberty Cremation Inc. in Kensington. The Garzones also owned Garzone Funeral Home Inc., with branches in Kensington and Hunting Park. The families of the deceased believed that the bodies were to be incinerated at Liberty Cremation.
McCafferty was sentenced on charges of participating in a corrupt organization, conspiracy, theft by deception, welfare fraud, recklessly endangering another person, and 244 counts of theft pertaining to the removal of body parts from cadavers without relatives' permission.
The sentence, which took into account McCafferty's extensive cooperation with the prosecution, also requires him to pay $100,000 in restitution, according to prosecutor Evangelia Manos.
Because none of the harvesting of bodies took place at the McCafferty Funeral Home - owned by his mother - the court yesterday withdrew a forfeiture requirement that had been lodged against that business in Mayfair.
Before the sentencing, McCafferty's attorney depicted him as a compassionate man whose decision-making may have been compromised by his dependence on alcohol.
"He did things that showed he had a kind heart," said defense attorney Glenn Zeitz. "[There's] something about it that is hard to figure - [how] someone kind, who cares about people . . . does charitable work on behalf of others . . . would get involved in something as horrible and tragic as this."
Lorraine Laurelli, 60, was not moved by the descriptions of a kindhearted McCafferty. The body of her father, Harry Flynn, 83, was cut up and sold.
"I heard [in court] how good of a person he was, but we dealt with a different man, cunning and conniving," she said. "While grieving, he took advantage of us."