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LOUISVILLE, KY. (WDRB) -- A former southern Indiana funeral director has agreed to plead guilty to about one-third of the charges against him. But the other charges against Richard Pyke will still come to trial.
Pyke will plead guilty next month to 23 counts of theft, conversion, and insurance fraud. They're related to allegations that Pyke falsely told insurance companies that some of his clients had died, and then collected the money.
A judge will sentence Pyke on those counts May 21st, but the agreement calls for the same judge to hold a bench trial on the rest of the charges, 39 of them. Those involve failure to pay a local cemetery and violation of state cremation laws.
Pyke also is accused of mishandling remains at his former funeral home in Henryville. But why pleas on some charges and not the others? Clark County Deputy Prosecutor Jeremy Mull explains, "The rest of the victims, they were caught in a vulnerable situation with a loved one dying or close to death. So it was my goal as prosecutor to hold him accountable for the crimes he committed, but also to make the prosecution process as painless for the victims as possible. In this plea agreement, he's pleading guilty to many of the counts. The ones he denies he committed will be done in a bench trial."
Richard Pyke is in the Clark County Jail. He could get as much as 16 years in prison, plus having to pay restitution.
Pyke already has pleaded guilty to insurance fraud in Floyd County. The judge there gave him two years in prison.