Wednesday, September 7, 2005
Carmel on the Case: Funeral Home Director
It's been a long hot summer for Bernard Poitier and fall might be even worse for the sixty-eight year old. On this day he was in court to enter a not guilty plea to several criminal charges.
Poitier was first arrested back in June and charged with aggravated assault after an argument with a customer and her friend at the funeral home he owns. According to the police report, Poitier "removed a revolver from his front right side pocket and pointed it at the victims...causing fear for their lives."
Then in July - just one month later - Poitier was arrested again when police say he tried to manipulate one of the people from the earlier gun-pointing incident.
This time he was charged with tampering with a witness - corruption by threat against a public servant, and resisting arrest without violence. According to the police report - Poitier called the victim to return to the funeral home telling her he would give her money that was due to her.
But once at the funeral home a Poitier employee gave her a document to sign that "... Stated she would only get her money if she said that there was never a gun involved in the previous incident."
Bernard Poitier: The truth - so help me God.
But Poitier's trouble got even worse this month. In mid-august, he appeared before the state funeral board. At issue - failure to properly identify remains his funeral home delivered to a crematory.
Bernard Poitier: When the remains was removed from my funeral home it had a bracelet on the arm and it had a toe tag on it.
A state report indicates the body also had bugs - "which appeared to be maggots on the face, ears, nose, mouth and chest". Poitier blamed the crematory.
Bernard Poitier: Their crematory isn't clean. What I saw over there, I'm not gonna send my dear remains over there.
Earlier this year, Poitier was charged with acting as a funeral director without a license and entered a no contest plea. He was sentenced to house arrest and probation.
Judge Luise Kreieger-Martin: And you shall not participate in any way shape or form as a funeral director.
So when Poitier appeared before the state funeral board this time - it was with a history and the board took the toughest action possible. It hit him with a five thousand dollar fine and revoked the license for his funeral home.
This despite Potier's claim he was unfairly accused.
Bernard Poitier: If it's fair I'm gonna stand up for what is right. But if it's wrong, Iím gonna stand up for wrongness. This isn't right here no kind of way.
Carmel Cafiero: Poitier doesn't have to close his doors right away - he can appeal the board's decision. Meanwhile he's on pretrial release for the pending criminal charges and he's wearing an ankle bracelet for electronic monitoring.
If you have a story for Carmel:
Call her in Dade at 305-627-CLUE
Or in Broward at 954-921-CLUE