Owner of human tissue donation firm in Arizona is sentenced

FOX 10's Danielle Miller reports.

The owner of an Arizona company that arranges the donation of bodies for medicine and research has been sentenced to one year of deferred jail time for his role in mishandling the donations.

It was an emotional day in court. Several family members of Stephen Gore pleaded with the judge for a lenient sentence. They told the judge Gore is a kind and caring man and had the upmost respect for the donor's bodies. Loved ones of the victims say a man like this wouldn't have done what he did.

"Where is my brother? Where is he? Where is his body?"

Family members of the donors were shocked by the outcome of this case.

"We all make mistakes, but we don't break the law," said Gwen Aloia. Her husband Louis donated his body to the Biological Resource Center.

Sally Eliano-Barnes-Breen's father-in-law did as well.

"I don't know where Louis is, I don't know where his parts are," said Aloia.

"If he was a good man, he would have done the protocol of sending it to schools for research for cancers, what we all thought," said Eliano-Barnes-Breen.

The company was raided by the FBI in January 2014.

Following this, the owner, Stephen Gore, pleaded guilty to a felony charge for his role in mishandling donations.

The 48-year-old acknowledged his firm provided vendors with human tissue that was contaminated and used in ways that went against the donors' wishes.

Gore and several family members pleaded with the judge for a lenient sentence.

"He is a generous, caring, kind, supportive family man," said Stephanie Gore.

"I'm not here to offer any excuses, there were mistakes made, however they were never for a financial gain, the mistakes that were made were done, in my opinion, in the best interest for what we thought the donors and their families," said Stephen Gore.

The judge sentenced Gore to one year of differed jail time and four years probation.  He's also ordered to pay about $121,000 in restitution.

"The idea behind that is that if he complies with all of the terms of his probation, which we fully expect the judge will either defer it again or delete it. My guess is it will probably be deleted  as a term of probation," said defense attorney Clark Derrick.

Gore will immediately start probation. He is due back in court December 9, 2016 to see if the judge will in fact make him serve that one year in prison.


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