A former New York oral surgeon has agreed to plea bargain on charges that he was the mastermind behind a grisly plot to plunder corpses and sell body parts for transplants. New York prosecutors say Michael Mastromarino, 44, was making millions by covertly carving up hundreds of corpses at a Brooklyn funeral home and selling the parts for dental implants, hip replacements and other procedures nationwide. The story first broke in October, 2006, see Modern Day Body Snatchers.
The cadavers were looted without permission and without regard to diseases, resulting in an untold number of patients unknowingly exposed to infection. Among the bodies was that of “Masterpiece Theatre” host Alistair Cooke, who died in 2004.
Photos of exhumed corpses that were boned below the waist were released by authorities. Prosecutors said the defendants had made a crude attempt to cover their tracks by sewing PVC pipe back into the bodies in time for open-casket wakes.
Mastromarino entered the guilty plea in exchange for 18 to 54 years in prison. New York prosecutors later regretted the arrangement and tried to have the bargain set aside, but a New York judge upheld the terms. Mastromarino also faces charges in Philadelphia where he expects to plead guilty as well, and has asked the court to allow him to serve any sentences concurrently.