Court appearance for man facing charges over funeral services

Court appearance for man facing charges over funeral services
Published: May. 4, 2022 at 10:21 PM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - The 13abc I-team trying to get some answers from the man who was storing nearly 100 cremated remains of Toledo area residents inside an Akron church.

Some families thought they had the remains of their loved ones, only to find out recently they did not.

This is the case of Shawnte Hardin. He’s facing statewide charges connected to how he conducted funeral business. With still more questions about what he knew of remains that were found inside a church he owned.

Hardin is facing nearly 45 criminal charges ranging from representing as a funeral director while unlicensed to abuse of a corpse.

After a brief Wednesday pretrial, the 13abc I-Team wanted to ask him about another pressing issue for Toledo families. About 90 cremated remains were found in January in an Akron funeral home owned by Hardin. Many of them were Toledoans.

Hardin would not answer questions about it, referring instead to his attorney.

Some of their loved ones from the Akron church find told 13abc they already thought they had their family’s members remains. But when they saw their family member’s name on the list of found remains they didn’t know what they had. 13abc asked if investigators asked Hardin any questions about it.

“Nope. No just crickets because there’s no violation. There’s no crime,” said Hardin’s attorney Rick Kerger.

Kerger says Hardin was given the remains by now deceased and former Toledo funeral home owner Robert Tate and says Hardin was simply storing the remains and didn’t know who got what.

“Mr. Tate did the paperwork. We don’t know. We didn’t do the paperwork. We didn’t do an inventory. We didn’t match up. We just took what he gave them,” said Kerger.

Hardin didn’t want to talk about the charges against him, for which a July trial date has been set. “There’s a lot of this brought about by the confusion about what you have to be a licensed funeral director to do and what any person can do,” said Kerger.

Hardin is not criminally charged with the Akron church part of all this and we don’t know if charges will be brought.

Hardin is a minister in Akron. The judge Wednesday made Akron his permanent residence for electronic monitoring and will allow him to live there. He’s set to be back in court later in May.

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