Couple pleads not guilty in case of keeping dead Vietnam vet's body in home
By ALEX KNISELY | The Times-Reporter, New Philadelphia, Ohio | Published: May 16, 2017
NEW PHILADELPHIA, Ohio (Tribune News Service) — The couple accused of keeping a man's decomposed body inside their Wainwright home for several months had not guilty pleas entered on their behalf Tuesday by Tuscarawas County Common Pleas Judge Edward O'Farrell.
Brian D. Sorohan, 49, and Stacy L. Sorohan, 45, appeared in court for their arraignments without attorneys, thus having O'Farrell enter the pleas for them. O'Farrell assigned attorney Patrick Cusma of Canton to represent Stacy Sorohan. Brian Sorohan is being represented by Tuscarawas County Assistant Public Defender Mark Perlaky.
The couple was indicted last month. They are each charged with gross abuse of a corpse and two counts of theft, all fifth-degree felonies. They also are charged with failure to report knowledge of a death, a fourth-degree misdemeanor.
The maximum prison sentence, if convicted, for each felony charge is one year. The misdemeanor charge carries a 30-day jail sentence.
The Sorohans are each out on recognizance bonds. O'Farrell modified Brian Sorohan's bond so he no longer has to go through pretrial supervision. Since Sorohan and his wife have been indicted with the same exact charges, their bail should be equal, O'Farrell explained.
The couple is charged with two separate counts of theft because they are accused of stealing money from two accounts belonging to 71-year-old Robert L. Harris, a Vietnam War veteran whose dead body was kept in the home. They were arrested March 22, the same day the Tuscarawas County Sheriff's Office found Harris' body in the home while executing a search warrant. The sheriff's office had received information from people who knew Harris and were worried that had not heard from him for a long time. It's believed the family was stealing from Harris' Social Security and Veterans Administration benefits.
Briann D. Sorohan, 18, was also arrested March 22. The couple's daughter was sentenced May 9 to six months of probation on a charge of failure to report knowledge of a death. Her case was handled through Tuscarawas County Southern District Court. She pleaded no contest to that charge during a preliminary hearing in March and had the charge of gross abuse of a corpse dropped.
Harris was buried April 21 at the Ohio Western Reserve National Cemetery in Rittman with full military honors.
Reach Alex at alex.knisely@TimesReporter.com.