Arrested former Johnstown funeral home director sued by home’s previous owner over mortgage balance

PHOTOGRAPHER:

The exterior of the Ehle and Barnett Family Funeral Home at 15 N. William St. in Johnstown is seen on Jan. 16. Former Ehle-Barnett Funeral Home director Brian M. Barnett’s police mugshot released Tuesday (inset)

JOHNSTOWN – The former owner of the Johnstown funeral home where the current owner has been accused of improperly handling human remains, is now suing the current owner for the balance of the mortgage, plus interest and late fees.

Daniel V. Ehle, the former owner of the Ehle and Barnett Family Funeral Home, is seeking $245,619.98 for the mortgage balance and interest – plus more than $800 in late charges – on the 15 North William St. funeral home property, according to a March 24 lawsuit filed in Fulton County Court.

The suit alleges that Brian M. Barnett, 35, who now faces myriad felony charges for allegedly improperly storing four corpses and at least 18 containers of human remains, failed to pay his mortgage last summer.

The suit says Barnett committed on July 2, 2014, to paying Ehle $313,000, plus 5% interest for the property, with monthly payments of $2,065.66. The suit names Matthews International Corporation as a judgment creditor of Barnett.

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The suit alleges that Barnett did not make the payment due on July 2, 2021. The suit says Barnett is in danger of losing the property if he does not respond within 20 days.

Barnett’s attorney, Ted Hartman, said he was not aware of the lawsuit. Barnett’s cell phone went straight to voicemail, and he did not return voice and text message seeking comment. Ehle’s attorney, Benjamin C. McGuire, did not return two voicemails seeking comment.

Barnett turned himself into police in February a few hours after the Johnstown Police Department announced on social media that they had an active arrest warrant for him. Barnett faces multiple charges, including grand larceny and concealment of a human corpse.

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Barnett allegedly neglected to cremate bodies and stored them at the funeral home in an attempt to evade investigation, according to court documents. He also allegedly gave families incorrect remains and took money for funeral services never provided, court papers say. In addition, Barnett is accused of concealing a decomposing human corpse on the first floor of a residence, “surrounded in children’s toys where the child readily had access,” court documents read.

Barnett is currently out on bail after being taken into custody following a March 1 appearance in Johnstown City Court.

Editor’s note: This updated version reflects the allegation that Barnett did not make the payment due on July 2, 2021.

Andrew Waite can be reached at [email protected] and at 518-417-9338. Follow him on Twitter @UpstateWaite.

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By Andrew Waite

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