Coroner, Fire Chief Plead Guilty to Illegal Body Parts Transfer

May 1, 2012 Updated May 1, 2012 at 6:53 PM EDT

By John Borsa

May 1, 2012 Updated May 1, 2012 at 6:53 PM EDT

CAMBRIA, NY (WKBW) - A coroner and fire chief, both from Niagara County, have admitted to illegally taking body parts from the scene of a fatal accident.

Niagara County Coroner Russell Jackman admitted to giving pieces of tissue to Cambria Fire Chief Vincent Salerno.

Salerno intended to use the tissue to cadaver train his search-and-rescue dog.

The men appeared in Cambria Town Court and pleaded guilty to obstructing governmental administration, a misdemeanor.

The judge sentenced the men to 100 hours of community service and $1,000 in fines and surcharges. Both men received a conditional discharge and must write letters of apology to the victim's family.

"I don't believe that Russ intended to commit a crime or intended to break the law," said Jackman's lawyer, Jim Faso.

The victim, Richard Dunn, 32, of Lockport, died after he lost control of his truck on Route 31 on April 13.

"The family doesn't want to have to constantly relive this accident. The accident itself was tragic enough," said Niagara County Sheriff's Department PIO Christian Peck.

Jackman and Salerno have both resigned from their posts.