PHOENIX, AZ. (CBS News)–A Maricopa County Superior Court jury has awarded $58 million to ten of 21 plaintiffs who claim the bodies of their loved ones were mishandled by a Phoenix body donation center operating as an alleged “human chop shop.”
The trial against Stephen Gore, owner of the Biological Resource Center of Arizona, has ended with the awarding $50 million in punitive damages and $8 million in compensatory damages to plaintiffs in the case.
Family members claim the remains of loved ones were obtained through “false statements” by the now-shuttered Biological Resource Center in Phoenix.
The plaintiffs say body parts were sold for profit and that they were not stored, treated or disposed of with dignity or respect.
Gore’s business was accused of fraud by claiming the donated bodies would be used for medical research, when it knew some of the remains would be sold for military testing, such as crashes and explosions.
Biological Resource Center became the center of a 2014 FBI investigation into the illegal trafficking and sale of human body parts.
One FBI agent claimed he found a “cooler filled with male genitalia,” “a bucket of heads, arms and legs,” “infected heads” and a small woman’s head sewn onto a large male torso “like Frankenstein” hanging up on the wall.
The FBI ultimately found 10 tons of frozen human remains, including 281 heads, 337 legs, and 97 spines.
According to the lawsuit, the bodies were cut up with chain saws, and “pools of human blood and bodily fluids were found on the floor of the freezer” with no identification tags on the bodies.
Gore pleaded guilty to illegal control of an enterprise.