New charges against man in corpse abuse case
CINCINNATI (AP) -- A former morgue worker already in prison for having sex with a body awaiting autopsy was indicted Thursday on two more charges of sexually abusing corpses.
The latest charges against 55-year-old Kenneth Douglas of Cincinnati accuse him of assaulting two women's bodies at the Hamilton County morgue in 1991.
Douglas, an attendant at the morgue from 1976 to 1992, was convicted last year of having sex with the body of a teenage murder victim in 1982. He is serving a three-year prison sentence, which includes 18 months for corpse abuse and 18 months for a parole violation on an unrelated drug conviction.
Prosecutor Joe Deters said Thursday the case is "just beyond belief" and that the new charges are based on DNA testing. He said there is not enough evidence left to determine whether more corpses may have been abused because DNA evidence wasn't saved in many cases.
Deters said he suspects Douglas had more victims during the 16 years he worked at the county morgue. The numbers Douglas gave investigators in interviews ranged from one to possibly more than 100, Deters said.
"I'm sure there are more," he said. "I'm certain of it, but we'll never be able to prove it."
Douglas' attorney, Norman Aubin, said he hadn't seen the new evidence and would confer with his client after he studies the charges.
A grand jury indicted Douglas on two counts of gross abuse of a corpse for allegedly sexually assaulting the bodies of Charlene Edwards, 23, and Angel Hicks, 24, both of Cincinnati.
Edwards was strangled in October 1991. Mark Chambers, convicted of voluntary manslaughter in her death, was released on parole in 2000.
Hicks died of a blunt impact to the head. Her death was ruled a homicide, but the defendant in that case was acquitted at trial.
The first corpse abuse case against Douglas involved 19-year-old Karen Range, who was murdered in her Cincinnati home. David Steffen, a door-to-door salesman, was convicted in 1983 of rape and aggravated murder.
Steffen acknowledged stabbing Range but denied that he raped her, saying he attempted to but was physically unable. A DNA test -- not available at the time he was tried -- confirmed in 2007 that he had not raped her.
Meanwhile, Douglas was convicted of a drug trafficking offense last year and was ordered to provide a DNA sample, as required by Ohio law. That sample matched the 1982 sample from Range, prosecutors said.
Steffen has been on death row for the 1982 killing. Earlier this month, though, a judge ordered a new sentencing hearing, agreeing with the defense that his death sentence should be reconsidered now that he has been exonerated of rape. The state has appealed that ruling.
The maximum sentence Douglas could receive if convicted of the new charges is 18 months on each count.