Q&A on the News

Q: From what institutions did Ray Brent Marsh earn his master’s and doctor’s of theology? Did he have to pay any of the cost for the degrees?

—Bob Addison, Dunwoody

A: Marsh finished his bachelor’s degree and then earned both a master’s degree and a doctorate in theology from Covington Theological Seminary in Fort Oglethorpe, his attorney told Q&A on the News.

Marsh, who ran the Tri-State Crematory in the community of Noble, was released from Central State Prison in Macon on June 29 after serving all 12 years of his sentence.

“I think he did a remarkable job of using his time positively,” McCracken Poston, Marsh’s attorney, said last week.

Marsh pleaded guilty to 787 counts — 122 counts of burial service fraud, 439 counts of theft, 179 counts of abuse of a corpse and 47 counts of making false statements — in 2004, after authorities found 334 bodies around his property.

He was supposed to have cremated the bodies, but instead left them in various places.

Marsh attended the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga as an undergrad.

A scholarship helped Marsh pay for 50 percent of graduate school, Poston said. Marsh’s family paid for the rest, he said.

Covington Theological Seminary was established in Florida in 1977, moved to Rossville in 1980 and then relocated to Fort Oglethorpe in 1985.

It is accredited by the Accrediting Commission International, which works with “non-government regulated schools, colleges and theological seminaries,” it states at accreditnow.com.

Andy Johnston with Fast Copy News Service wrote this column. Do you have a question? We’ll try to get the answer. Call 404-222-2002 or email q&a@ajc.com (include name, phone and city).