In a recent case before an Arizona court of appeals, the defendant challenged his guilty verdict based on the trial court’s definition of the word “education.” The case centered on the defendant’s insistence that his scattering dead body parts in public areas was not a crime, but instead was an attempt to educate the public. The jury disagreed, and the higher court ultimately denied the defendant’s appeal.
Facts of the Case
According to the opinion, the defendant in this case worked for a body donation center in Washington. He moved to Arizona, and he decided to take several human body parts along with him when he moved. Oddly, the man then scattered the body parts in the Arizona desert. This was important, the defendant later claimed, because he needed to educate passersby on public safety issues. He did not, however, offer a coherent statement about how the body parts would achieve his stated purpose.
Pedestrians found the body parts, and investigators traced them back to the defendant’s previous place of work, which they then back to the defendant himself. The defendant was charged with abandonment and concealment of a dead body. He pled not guilty, but a jury found him guilty as charged. The trial court sentenced the defendant to 2.5 years in prison. He promptly appealed.