Jury convicts Shawn Parcells, Leawood man who posed as medical examiner, of 6 criminal charges

Shawn Parcells

Shawn Parcells achieved cable news notoriety in 2014 by posing as an expert in the investigation into the fatal police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo. Above, Parcells speaks during a news conference to share preliminary results of a second autopsy performed on Michael Brown in August 2014, in St. Louis County, Mo. Photo credit Joe Raedle/Getty Images.

By Dan Margolies

A Leawood man who had no medical degree but promoted himself as a medical examiner has been convicted of six criminal charges related to autopsies he illegally performed.

Following a three-day trial last week, a Wabaunsee County, Kan., jury found Shawn Parcells, 42, guilty of three counts of felony theft and three misdemeanor counts of criminal desecration.

Sentencing has been set for Jan. 10.

A pending civil suit filed by Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt alleges that Parcells duped at least 82 consumers into shelling out money for autopsies he did not complete in accordance with Kansas law.

Parcells achieved cable news notoriety in 2014 by posing as an expert in the investigation into the fatal police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo.

Although he held himself out as a forensic pathology expert in multiple cable news appearances following Brown’s death, a CNN investigation in 2013 revealed that he did not have a medical degree and that he had exaggerated other credentials.

The jury in the criminal case found that Parcells had unlawfully obtained money from Wabaunsee County to perform autopsies in three cases, according to a news release from Schmidt’s office.

The release said that Parcells also performed autopsies in three cases in 2014 and 2015 without a pathologist performing them, in violation of Kansas law.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment has taken control of and catalogued more than 1,600 blood samples and slides collected by Parcells. The samples are being released to family members upon verified request.

Shawn Parcells has a life sciences degree from Kansas State University but never earned a medical degree. He offered autopsy services under a variety of business names, including National Autopsy Services in Topeka.

KCUR 89.3 is Kansas City’s NPR affiliate public radio station. You can read and listen to more of their reporting at kcur.org.