Cemetery owner charged with abuse of corpse bonds out of jail
(WMC) – The owner of Galilee Memorial Gardens, which is currently shut down, posted a $10,000 bond Tuesday morning. Jemar Lambert left jail shortly after a judge combined the criminal cases against him and delayed trial indefinitely.
Police took Lambert into custody in January and charged him with abuse of corpse after he allegedly buried bodies on land he did not own. Additionally, investigators accuse the 38-year-old of poor record keeping and crushing and stacking caskets into a single grave site in an effort to bury people in a full cemetery.
A few weeks after his arrest, an affidavit from the Shelby County District Attorney revealed Lambert ordered cemetery workers, named Boo and Juicy, to open graves and identify remains.
A funeral director and consultant from Little Rock said he saw "caskets that had been crushed and stacked in single grave sites." He said he also saw one worker "use the back wheel of the back-hoe to crush a casket by driving back and forth over it."
The consultant faxed a report to the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance that said the cemetery contained possible mass graves with 81 known stacked bodies. The Lambert family hired the consultant, who filed the 37-page document, to help find two missing bodies at Galilee; they were never found.
This restoration report concluded that cemetery management was "very methodical" in its attempt to make the cemetery grounds appear viable by "recycling" old graves and using those thought to be of "adequate depth."
Dozens in the Mid-South have stepped forward, sharing devastation of the reported abuse to their loved ones. Two multimillion class-action lawsuits were filed against the cemetery in February by families seeking damages.
Founded in 1960, Galilee has only enough space for 16,425 graves. By 2010, 16,700 had been developed.
Despite Lambert bonding out, the criminal investigation against him and the cemetery continues. The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation returned to the Galilee earlier in the summer, but no one from the department was able to comment.
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