Body Part Thief Gets Over 2 Years in Jail

A morgue assistant accused of stealing body parts from a medical school so he could practice dissections at home was sentenced to more than two years in prison.

David Lawrence Beale (search), 47, was arrested in 2003 after more than 150 pounds of decomposing body parts, including two heads, were found near his Davis home. He pleaded no contest Monday to stealing human remains from the medical center at the University of California at Davis and possessing methamphetamine.

"This is a crime involving a great deal of callousness," said Superior Court Judge Michael Sweet.

Police initially suspected homicide when a tip led them to human remains in the trash at a trailer park where Beale once lived. Lawyers for Scott Peterson (search) traveled to the area to search for evidence that Peterson's wife, Laci, had been killed by a cult.

Beale allegedly told investigators he had been taking remains home for more than a decade. The parts were from cadavers donated to the medical center for research.