Forged death certificate draws fine for Cleveland funeral home

In this Oct. 16, 2015 picture, funeral director John Williams turns away after placing a casket containing the remains of a man who died of natural causes in a hearse in Baltimore. Coming off of the most violent year in the city's recent history, Williams has buried more bodies -- many of them young black men, many gunned down in the city’s west side -- than ever before. In a normal month, he might do three funerals. This past summer, he buried two people a week. Some died naturally, of illness or old age. Most showed up pierced by knives or bullets. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

A funeral home in Cleveland, Tenn., is paying a $1,000 fine for forging the medical examiner's name on a death certificate in a murder case.

Dr. Emily Dennison filed a complaint in December alleging Companion Funeral and Cremation Service forged her name and filed an altered death certificate for Tyler Andrew Worth.

The 25-year-old Cleveland resident was shot to death in October and his body dumped in a ravine in Polk County, Tenn. At a preliminary hearing earlier this month, his accused killer's wife testified about Worth's death.

Companion and its operator could have lost their licenses over what the Tennessee Board of Funeral Directors and Embalmers called a "serious violation of the rules of professional conduct."

But the board withheld the most serious punishment when Companion operator H. Robert Cody Jr. said the firm was actually trying to do a good deed by getting the death certificate to the family quickly.

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