Thursday, September 11, 2003

Morgue photographer's appeal refused



By Dan Horn
The Cincinnati Enquirer

The Ohio Supreme Court refused Wednesday to hear the appeal of the Cincinnati man convicted of photographing bodies at the morgue without permission.

The court's decision clears the way for a judge to send Thomas Condon back to prison to complete his 18-month sentence.

Condon and a morgue pathologist, Jonathan Tobias, were convicted last year of gross abuse of a corpse for taking photos of at least nine bodies posed with sea shells, fruit, toys and other objects.

The case generated national attention after Condon claimed Hamilton County morgue officials had given him permission to pursue an artistic endeavor involving photos of corpses.

In May, an appeals court threw out Tobias' conviction and reduced Condon's sentence from 30 months to 18. The court concluded prosecutors had acted inappropriately during the trial and did not have enough evidence to convict Tobias.

Condon's lawyers appealed that ruling to the Supreme Court, hoping the justices would throw out Condon's conviction as well.

But in a decision filed Wednesday, the court rejected the appeal request without explanation. Condon's lawyers could not be reached for comment.

Prosecutor Mike Allen said he was pleased with the decision and would move quickly to request that Condon be sent back to prison.

Condon had served four months of his sentence when he was freed last September pending his appeal to the Supreme Court.

Common Pleas Judge Norbert Nadel had refused to release Condon, but an appeals court overturned that decision and allowed Condon to remain free until his appeals were exhausted.

Now, the case will return to Judge Nadel, who will decide whether Condon should serve the remainder of his sentence.

E-mail dhorn@enquirer.com




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