DETROIT – A man who stole his father's body from a Detroit cemetery was placed on probation Tuesday and ordered to take mental health medication or face jail.
Vincent Bright avoided a prison sentence under a deal with the Wayne County prosecutor's office. He pleaded guilty in August to disinterment of a body.
Bright "absolutely" must continue getting mental health care and show his probation officer that he's taking medicine, Wayne County Judge James Chylinski said.
"If you don't do that, I've got to lock you up," the judge said.
In January, the body of 93-year-old Clarence Bright disappeared from Gethsemane Cemetery, shortly after his funeral but before the casket could be buried. Family members led police to the body in a freezer in Vincent Bright's Detroit home.
Bright, 49, was arrested when police found him in a van with an empty casket in the back.
Police at the time said Bright was religious and had hoped his father would come back to life. He was found mentally unfit to face the charges, but his mental health improved after weeks of treatment and observation in state hospitals.
"He went through a bad period, a lot of stress. ... He's doing fine. He's on his medication," defense attorney Gerald Karafa said outside court, referring to the deaths of Bright's parents.
He said it was "self-evident" that Bright's mental health played a role in the theft. Bright declined to comment outside court. After his arrest, he spent 225 days in jail or in custody in state hospitals.