Crime

Homeless man pleads to breaking into Columbus funeral home, raping corpse

Muscogee County Sheriff's Office

A homeless man who broke into a funeral home and raped a corpse in 2015 pleaded guilty Monday in Muscogee Superior Court.

Prosecutors said Domonique Cordero Smith left DNA evidence and was caught on camera committing the offense.

He broke into what was then Hill Watson Peoples Funeral Service at 2919 Hamilton Road and had anal sex with a female corpse on Feb. 9, 2015, according to his indictment.

Security cameras caught him twice going into the room where the body was located, and taking from the body underwear he stowed in a backpack, which police found when he was arrested around noon that day in a vacant home in the 500 block of 23rd Street.

Smith pleaded guilty Monday. That’s when Judge Ron Mullins sentenced him to 20 years in prison with 15 to serve for first-degree burglary and necrophilia, before Assistant District Attorney George Lipscomb realized Smith’s charge for breaking into a business should be second-degree burglary, not the first-degree burglary charge that applies to residential break-ins.

So Smith was brought back to court Tuesday to be resentenced for second-degree burglary and necrophilia. Judge Mullins then sentenced him to 15 years in prison with 12 to serve and the rest on probation.

Lipscomb said Smith did not deny the necrophilia. Though the court decided he would have been competent to stand trial, he has a mental illness, which he acknowledged during his sentencing, the prosecutor said afterward.

“I think all of us would agree he’s got some issues,” Lipscomb said.

Resolving the case was delayed by repeated psychological evaluations. In the end, authorities had three, and one conflicted with the others: Two conducted at West Central Georgia Regional Hospital found Smith competent to stand trial, and the third performed by a private psychotherapist found that he was not.

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