Former Bell County coroner, funeral home director awaiting trial

Published 4:12 pm Tuesday, June 14, 2022

The former Bell County coroner and funeral home owner accused of defrauding dozens of people out of pre-paid funeral expenses is scheduled to face trial in September.

Donald Clyde Creech was arraigned May 25 in Franklin Circuit Court on a 39-count indictment, that includes 38 counts of violating the trust provision of pre-need payment for funeral goods, a class C felony that carries a sentence of 5 to 10 years in prison for each charge.

A Franklin County grand jury also indicted Creech on one county of theft by failure to make required disposition of property over $500 in regard to $5515 obtained from an individual for a legal obligation in which Creech intentionally dealt with the property as his own and failed to make the required payment, a class D felony that carries a sentence of 1 to 5 years.

Email newsletter signup

The coroner in Bell County for 30 years from 1981 to 2011, Creech is the former owner of Creech Funeral Home in Middlesboro. Each of the 38 counts represents a family he allegedly defrauded. He is accused of taking $3,750 to as much as $9,000 in each count for a total of $248,925 from 1996 through 2013, according to the report.

Creech, who went through bankruptcy in 2011, says he is indigent and was assigned a public defender for his defense. He entered a plea of not guilty in Franklin County Circuit Court.

A status hearing is scheduled for Aug. 26, and the trial is set to begin Sept. 28.