Detroit cadaver dealer accused of selling bodies infected with HIV, Hepatitis

Posted at 10:40 AM, Jan 20, 2018

A Detroit cadaver dealer, is accused of deliberately buying diseased human bodies with HIV and Hepatitis and selling them to doctors and dentists who thought they were clean. 

Jurors will decide next if the dealer, Arthur Rathburn, is guilty of wire fraud, false statements to investigators and transportation of hazardous materials. He faces a maximum prison sentence of 20 years.

Prosecutors told jurors in closing arguments that Rathburn bought diseased remains “no one else wanted that he flipped for money.” 

The defense told the jury this is not a criminal case, but a contractual civil case. They urged jurrors not to decide the case on emotion. 

Prosecutors claimed Rathburn’s shabby warehouse on Detroit's was “filthy, nasty and disgusting.” 

During the three-week trial jurors were shown pictures that showed body parts in beer coolers and a picture of the cutting room where bodies were dismembered. 

Prosecutors told jurors that bodies were stockpiled, frozen together, mixed with food, mixed with dead animals. The warehouse also contained pools of blood and piles of insects.

Rathburn turned down a plea deal before trial that would have been five years in prison.

The defense told the jury that Rathburn ran a legitimate, lawful and necessary business and he did not have to testify in his own defense. The defense also cautioned jurors not to base their verdict on a mental picture — one of a filthy warehouse, chain saws and white lab coats splatted with blood.

Jurors will begin deliberations on Monday.