A man accused of driving around Denver with a dead friend in the back of a car and running up a bar tab on the friend's account says he thought the man was drunk, not deceased.
Robert Young, 43, faces charges including abusing a corpse. He spoke before a court hearing Thursday in Denver.
Investigators allege Young and Mark Rubinson, 25, drove around with the body of their 43-year-old friend Jeffrey Jarrett in their car in August.
"In my mind, I wanted to believe he was passed out. I didn't want to call 911," Young said Thursday. "I didn't want to believe he was dead."
According to police reports, the night on the town started when Young went to Jarrett's home and found him unresponsive.
But rather than call the authorities, police say, Young went to find Rubinson.
The duo returned to Jarrett's home and put him into Rubinson's SUV and headed to a nightspot where they spent more than an hour drinking, leaving Jarrett's body in the vehicle, according to police records.
Police say the two men used Jarrett's card to pay for the drinks on Aug. 27, noting "they did not have Jarrett's consent."
Young said he realized Jarrett was dead while leaving the bar and the two men took him back to his home after notifying police. They then went to a strip joint, where Young took $400 from an ATM, police said.
Young said Jarrett owed him money and gave him his credit card.
Young rejected comparisons to the plot of the 1989 movie "Weekend at Bernie's." He said the ordeal only lasted four hours, and insisted there was no comparison to the movie.
"It's not a joking matter. He deserves better than that," Young said.
In the 1989 Hollywood comedy, two ne'er-do-wells find their boss dead at his ritzy beachfront home and escort his body around town, attempting to save the weekend of luxury they had planned
Rubinson and Young aren't charged in Jarrett's death.
Young was scheduled to be arraigned Thursday, but his attorney was granted an extension to Nov. 3 after she told the judge authorities are still waiting for the results of an autopsy to determine how and when Jarrett died.