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Lifetime drops reality TV show on Fort Worth mortuary facing legal trouble

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — The Lifetime TV network has dropped a reality show about a Texas mortuary after eight decaying bodies were found at the facility and the co-owners were arrested for alleged corpse abuse.

Lifetime announced in June it would produce a show called "Good Grief" about the Johnson Family Mortuary in Fort Worth. The show was due to air July 23.

But the show "has not and will not air on Lifetime," Lifetime Networks vice president Les Eisner said in a statement Friday, adding that the allegations are "deeply troubling."

Johnson Family Mortuary co-owners Dondre Johnson, 39, and his wife Rachel Hardy-Johnson, 35, were arrested last week after the building owner evicted the couple for not paying rent and discovered the decomposing bodies inside.

The Tarrant County Medical Examiner's Office has said seven of the eight bodies found July 15 at the business were in advanced stages of decomposition, though none showed signs of trauma or foul play. Both are accused of treating the remains in "an offensive manner."

Police separately presented each with warrants for their arrest on seven counts of abuse of a corpse, a class A misdemeanor offense. They were released last week after posting bail.

The Tarrant County District Attorney's office has not yet received the case. When it does, it will decide whether to uphold the misdemeanor charges and set a court date; bring felony charges to a grand jury; or dismiss the case, spokeswoman Melody McDonald said.

"Good Grief" was to focus on Rachel, Dondre and his twin brother Derrick, "together known as the 'Undertaker Twins,' who bring life to the business of death," a Lifetime news release from June said.

According to the Johnson Family Mortuary's website, the twin brothers started their careers in the funeral business at the age of 11, washing limousines and handing out programs at a funeral home in East Texas.

The mortuary's state license expires at the end of July, according to Kyle Smith, an attorney with the Texas Funeral Service Commission. The business is the focus of five commission investigations, Smith said.
 

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