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Criminal exploits of former undertaker arrested in Montana detailed in book

Published On: Dec 31 2012 07:13:25 PM MST

A former California mortician who was convicted of mishandling cremations and extracting dental gold from corpses in the late 1980s has been arrested in Montana on allegations he violated his lifetime parole in the case.   

David Wayne Sconce of Frenchtown was arrested Thursday and ordered held without bail on Friday. The warrant said Sconce was wanted for deliberate homicide, but the Los Angeles County district attorney's office said he was being sought for violating his parole.      

Sconce, who is 56, was sentenced to five years of federal probation in October for stealing a neighbor's rifle and pawning it.        

Sconce was charged with deliberate homicide in the 1985 poisoning death of a rival mortician, but that case was dismissed in 1991.       

A court reporter in Pasadena wrote a book called “Chop Shop” that detailed Sconce’s criminal exploits while he was a mortician.

Author Kathy Braidhill said she believes the criminal justice system in California failed to keep a dangerous man in prison.

"Anyone who threatens his family or his business is in his bull’s eye target. He had hired individuals to beat (rival mortician) Ron Hast and his companion because he threatened to tell about the multiple cremations. They were beaten bloody," said Braidhill.

Los Angeles County district court officials said they will file paperwork to have Sconce extradited to Los Angeles.

His next hearing in Missoula is set for Jan. 28.

For more information about Chop Shop, click here.