Years after funeral home break-in, doctors deciding if accused necrophiliac can stand trial

Domonique Cordero Smith
Domonique Cordero Smith Photo from the Muscogee County Jail

Three years after Columbus police accused a homeless man of breaking into a funeral home and having sex with a corpse, the necrophilia case has yet to go to trial.

He was set for trial Monday, but the case was postponed.

That’s because authorities now have three court-ordered psychological evaluations on suspect Domonique Cordero Smith, and one of them conflicts with the others: Two conducted at West Central Georgia Regional Hospital found Smith is competent to stand trial, and the third performed by a private psychotherapist found that he is not.

If he is not, then he can neither be tried nor voluntarily enter a plea, so Smith has been sent back to West Central Georgia for what’s called “restoration,” or treatment to restore his mental competency, said his attorney Ray Lakes, a public defender.

Now 29, Smith is accused of breaking into what was then Hill Watson Peoples Funeral Service and having anal sex with a female corpse on Feb. 9, 2015, according to his indictment.

The business since has changed ownership.

Security cameras recorded Smith inside the 2919 Hamilton Road business, investigators said. Assistant District Attorney George Lipscomb said Smith has not denied the necrophilia.

He initially was charged with entering an unoccupied dwelling on 23rd Street and with second-degree burglary for stealing a bicycle from 2203 Fifth Ave., before investigators learned of the funeral service break-in, according to court records.

Besides necrophilia and burglary, he’s accused of theft by receiving stolen property and being a convicted felon with a firearm. Police said the stolen property worth more than $2,000 included two TVs, two electronic keyboards and a shotgun.

Because he was convicted of felony obstruction of a police officer on Jan. 27, 2011, Smith could not legally have the 12-gauge pump shotgun, investigators said.

He was arrested around noon Feb. 9, 2015, in a vacant home in the 500 block of 23rd Street, where police found the stolen bicycle, they said. During a preliminary hearing the next day in Columbus Recorder’s Court, he pleaded guilty to being in the vacant house and was ordered to serve 30 days in jail. His other charges still are pending.