Cemetery Suit Coming To An End

A bankrupt cemetery company sued by a group of Jackson County residents will be sold to repay some of the money the plaintiffs lost on burial merchandise, a judge says. Chancellor Glenn Barlow said so far attempts to sell Serene Memorial Gardens Inc. in eastern Jackson County have been unsuccessful.

Barlow said Wednesday he will use profits from the sale to repay people who bought burial plots, vaults and headstones but claim they never received their merchandise. ``It's time to get what we can,'' Barlow said. ``We've been holding out for a substantial amount, but it just didn't work.'' Pascagoula lawyer Robert Krebs filed a civil lawsuit against the cemetery in 1997 on behalf of the residents. About 500 people have submitted complaints to Jackson County Chancery Court.

The most recent owner of the cemetery, Michael Fisher, was not present Wednesday. Barlow said he has not been able to locate Fisher and fears he left the country. Barlow also granted a request by Hancock Bank to foreclose on undeveloped land that the cemetery owns but doesn't use for burial plots. He also suspended the cemetery's perpetual-care service.