FORT WORTH A sign outside the now-closed Johnson Family Mortuary advertises the 'twins' special service.
Twin brothers Dondre and Derrick Johnson have a long history of handling burials together, but according to Derrick, he has been out of the business since long before eight decomposing bodies were discovered at the mortuary on July 15.
Dondre Johnson and his wife, Rachel Johnson, were arrested last week for seven charges of abuse of corpse in connection to the business. A landlord called police last Tuesday when he went in the building, which he said was supposed to be vacant after the Johnsons didn't pay their rent, and found the bodies. Dondre Johnson insisted the landlord dispute was a 'misunderstanding.'
Dondre and Derrick Johnson started handling burials together under the tutelage of Gregory Spencer, considered a legendary funeral director. Until his murder several years ago, he was known for elaborate 'home-going celebrations.'
But Derrick Johnson said by phone Tuesday he had nothing to do with the Johnson Family Mortuary, beyond lending his image for marketing. He said he is a full-time employee for a limousine service.
Records obtained by News 8 from the Texas Funeral Service Commission help explain why Derrick Johnson is no longer in the funeral business.
According to investigative documents, Johnson falsified his application for a funeral director's license. The commission found that in 2007 and 2008, he claimed to do training work at a funeral home where he was no longer employed. His reports contained the signature of a funeral director who said he did not sign them.
The commission determined that Derrick Johnson portrayed himself as a licensed funeral director in a 'fraudulent manner.'
In his handwritten response, Johnson told state regulators he 'messed up partially, but not completely.'
Reports show the commission cited Johnson for multiple violations of the Texas Occupations Code and Texas Administrative Code.
A final judgment in Travis County district court in 2010 shows that Johnson agreed to pay $75,000 in penalties, plus attorney fees and court costs. Derrick Johnson told us he did not pay, but instead gave up his dream of being a funeral director.
Derrick Johnson has not been charged in connection with the investigation into alleged abuse of corpses at the Johnson Family Mortuary.