A man accused of driving around Denver with a dead friend in the back of a car and running up a bar tab on his account says he thought the man was drunk, not deceased.
Robert Young, 43, was arrested on suspicion of identity theft and abuse of a corpse. He spoke before a court hearing in Denver Thursday.
Like the movie "Weekend at Bernie's," police say Young and Mark Rubinson, 25, put the body of their friend, 43-year-old Jeffrey Jarrett, in a car and went barhopping before returning him to his home and notifying police, according to the arrest affidavit.
"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 the police report, the night on the town started when Young went to Jarrett's home and found him unresponsive. But rather than call the authorities, Young went to find Rubinson, saying that something was wrong with their friend, police said.
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.
Jarrett's body remained in the back seat while the pair drank and ate at Teddy T's bar and grill and Sam's No. 3, the affidavit said. They used Jarrett's card to pay for the drinks, police said, 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 7-Eleven, Viva Burrito and Shotgun Willie's strip club, where Young withdrew $400 from an ATM and stayed until closing time, according to the affidavit.
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.
Rubinson and Young aren't charged in his 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.
An arrest warrant had been issued for Rubinson for failing to appear at a hearing Tuesday. Rubinson said someone stole his car so he couldn't make the court appearance. He was taken into custody on Wednesday.
Copyright Report a typo or inaccuracyCopyright 2011 TheDenverChannel.com. The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.