Friday, February 16, 2001
Morgue pair free on bond
By Dan Horn
The Cincinnati Enquirer
The two men accused of making photos at the Hamilton County morgue without permission will remain free while awaiting their trials. At their first court appearance Thursday, both men stood before the judge with their attorneys but did not speak until asked to enter a plea.
Not guilty, they said. Judge Norbert Nadel released them on a $5,000 bond.
Photographer Thomas Condon of Mount Auburn, is accused of gaining access to at least 12 bodies with the help of pathologist Dr. Jonathan Tobias.
After the hearing Thursday, Dr. Tobias' attorney accused prosecutors of making his client a scapegoat so others at the morgue could avoid responsibility.
The attorney, Marc Mezibov, had made similar claims last week after Dr. Tobias was indicted.
This is a prosecution based on political considerations, Mr. Mezibov said. Dr. Tobias did nothing wrong.
He said county officials may be trying to protect themselves from lawsuits spawned by the case. One family has sued, claiming the privacy of a relative was violated when his body was photographed without consent.
But prosecutors told the judge Thursday that Dr. Tobias is the only one in the morgue who knew what Mr. Condon was doing. They said Coroner Carl Parrott, who oversees the morgue, was not aware the photos were taken.
Dr. Parrott had no idea what these individuals were doing, said Assistant Prosecutor Thomas Longano.
Mr. Condon, 29, has said through his attorney the photos were part of an artistic exploration of death. The photos show autopsied bodies posed with props.
Dr. Tobias, 31, was completing his pathology residency at the morgue.
Dr. Tobias, who has been suspended, is charged with 24 counts of abuse of a corpse, one count of theft in office and one count of breaking and entering.
Mr. Condon faces the same charges, except for theft in office. Prosecutors say Dr. Tobias is charged with theft because he provided Mr. Condon with crime scene photos.
The Cincinnati Enquirer/MICHAEL E. KEATING
If convicted in the morgue-photos case, Thomas Condon (left) faces up to 13 years in prison, and Dr. Jonathan Tobias up to 14 years.
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