Montrose, CO

Megan Hess: second motion to delay sentence hearing in funeral home fraud case denied

Lavinia Thompson

For a second time, Megan Hess’ defense team saw their motion to delay their client’s sentence hearing denied, the Montrose Daily Press reports.

Hess, the 45-year-old former funeral home owner charged with mail fraud, stands accused alongside her mother, 68-year-old Shirley Koch, of selling body parts or entire bodies without consent of the families, and replacing the cremated remains with those of other deceased people or random debris, according to the 2020 indictment.

Both women pleaded guilty earlier this year, and their sentence date remains scheduled for Jan. 3, 2023, the Montrose Daily Press says.

The mother and daughter ran the now-closed Sunset Mesa Funeral Home on Montrose, CO between 2010 and 2018 and also founded the Sunset Mesa Funeral Foundation in 2009, wishing to provide “assistance to community members who have no resources for funeral/cremation services,” according to a 2020 indictment.

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Megan HessPhoto byDaily Mail via Facebook

In a Nov. 17 motion, Hess’ defense team asked for a 90-120 day delay for the sentence hearing, claiming to have a lot of material to review in preparation, KKCO previously reported.

The judge told the defense that both sides have had plenty of time for preparations, and to delay any more “would be wholly unfair to the victims in this case,” according to KKCO.

Hess’ defense filed another motion for a delay on Nov. 22, which U.S. District Judge Christine Arguello also denied, the Montrose Daily Press says.

“The court sees nothing in the (presentence) report that justifies the extended amount of time requested by counsel to respond,” Judge Arguello said, noting the defense failed to present new information the court hadn’t already seen, the Press states.

One of Hess’ attorneys, Ashley Petrey, was given permission to appear for the Jan. 3 hearing virtually, citing recent medical issues, the Press says. The motion, filed Dec. 5, was granted the same day, the Press notes.

Judge Arguello also granted a separate hearing date for restitution details, giving both sides time to obtain and review financial information before determining what should be paid, the Press says.

The US Attorney’s Office stated that having over 500 victims causes complications in determining what restitution should be, and that each victim would have suffered differing losses pertaining to each individual circumstance, the Press adds.

The restitution hearing has been scheduled for March 6, 2o23in Grand Junction, the Press says.

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Long time true crime lover and blogger who has spent years reading and studying criminal psychology. I also write mystery fiction books, and have a diploma in journalism.

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