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.

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.