Skooter reporting 09/10/12
Dr. Michael Berkland, 57, a former medical examiner has been arrested on charges of improper storage of human remains in a rented storage unit in the Florida Panhandle, keeping a public nuisance and driving with a suspended license.
Berkland was out of jail on $10,000 bail. Eric Stevension, Berkland’s attorney said that he and his client will start preparing their defence next week.
Last month, offensively preserved brains, hearts, lungs and other organs and specimens were uncovered in more than 100 containers in Pensacola storage unit that the doctor had rented for about three years. Berkland defaulted on his payments, and the unit was auctioned off.
The contents were declared by Berkland to be household goods, furniture, boxes, sporting goods and landscaping equipment. The contents were discovered by a man who bought the unit and discovered the human organs after becoming overwhelmed by a strange smell while sorting through the items, authorities said.
The organs were stored in a formaldehyde solution and methyl alcohol, authorities said.
From 1997 to 2003, Berkland worked at the District 1 Medical Examiner's Office in Pensacola, when he was fired for not completing autopsy reports. Berkland's license to serve as a medical examiner in Florida has been revoked.
Before moving to Florida, Berkland had been kicked in the ass as a contract medical examiner in 1996 in Jackson County, Mo., in a argument over his caseload and autopsy reports. His doctor's license was ultimately invalidated there.
Berkland would possibly face a maximum prison sentence of five years for improper storage of hazardous waste and keeping a public nuisance, a misdemeanor charge, could mean a 60-day jail term, according to the state attorney's office.