Nearly eight years after several bodies were found decomposing in the Sherrill Harden Funeral Home, the former director appeared in Lucas County Common Pleas Court looking to have his criminal record sealed.
Henry Harden, 71, filed a petition last month to expunge his record. Judge James Jensen denied the request Tuesday, saying that Harden was not eligible because he had a failure to pay taxes conviction on his record.
“I did not qualify because I had a prior conviction,” he said after the hearing. “Had I known that, I probably would not have pursued this at this time.
“I think the law works at a disadvantage to people who make mistakes – not maliciously – but made mistakes,” he added. “In my case, I was trying to help people when I couldn’t.”
Harden’s funeral home at 639 Indiana Ave., was shuttered in June, 2003 after an inspector with the state Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors found eight bodies when following up on a phone call reporting corpses on the property.
Harden worked with the Lucas County Coroner’s Office at the time to identify six of the bodies. A seventh body was identified a month later, but Harden was never able to identify the eighth and final body, which was found in a mummified state.
At the time, Harden publicly apologized to the families whose loved ones’ remains were not handled properly, saying he was under a lot of stress because of the deaths of several of his own family members.