Kansas man convicted on 6 counts related to performing illegal autopsies

Nation and World News

TOPEKA (KSNT) – A Kansas man who was accused of performing autopsies illegally has been found guilty on six criminal charges in Wabaunsee County, according to Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt.

Shawn Parcells, 42, who has lived in Leawood and Topeka, was convicted after a three-day trial in Wabaunsee County District Court on three counts of felony theft and three misdemeanor counts of criminal desecration. District Court Chief Judge Jeffrey Elder accepted the verdict and set sentencing for January 10, 2022.

According to a statement released by the attorney general, the jury found that Parcells unlawfully obtained money from Wabaunsee County to perform autopsies in three cases. Parcells also had unauthorized control of the bodies and performed autopsies in three instances without a pathologist performing the autopsies, a violation of state law. The crimes took place in 2014 and 2015.

Parcells faces a civil complaint filed by the attorney general in Shawnee County District Court for 14 alleged violations of the Kansas False Claims Act and violations of the Kansas Consumer Protection Act involving 82 consumers. The civil petition alleges Parcells contracted with Wabaunsee County to conduct coroner-ordered autopsies and failed to complete them in accordance with Kansas law. Additionally, the petition alleges he performed autopsies without the presence or supervision of a licensed pathologist or otherwise in violation of consumer protection laws. 

In the course of an investigation, Kansas took control of more than 1,600 biological samples collected by Parcells. In November 2019, Judge Mary Christopher appointed Kansas Department of Health and Environment Secretary Lee Norman to take control of the samples. Under court order, the state cataloged and stored the samples.

Schmidt said that after proper and verified requests the samples will be released to family members who request them from the state. Any remaining samples will be processed in accordance with state law.

Parcells has been banned by court order from performing autopsies pending the completion of the civil litigation. The civil case remains pending.

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