PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- Lawyers for both sides made their opening statements Monday as a civil lawsuit against the now-closed Biological Resource Center of Arizona BRC and its owner, Stephen Gore, got underway.

FBI agents raided the BRC in 2014, uncovering giant freezers full of body parts.

[WATCH: 23 families suing former owner of BRC over mishandling of loved ones' bodies]

Investigators found buckets of hands, arms, and legs, as well as a cooler filled with male genitalia.

Retired FBI Agent Mark Cwynar testified about horrific conditions at the facility during the 2014 raid.

The facility was accused of mishandling donated human remains and selling off body parts.

[RELATED: FBI found bucket of human heads, body parts sewn together 'like Frankenstein' at Phoenix facility (July 26, 2019)]

Attorney David TeSelle represents several donor families.

"The evidence will show that upon donation, the bodies of my clients were cut into pieces, the names removed and replaced with a number," TeSelle told jurors. "Their bodies changed from human form to product, and product to be sold to third parties from a price list."

Twenty-three donor families are part of the lawsuit.

Several family members testified that they were promised their loved ones' bodies would be used for medical research, not sold.

When they learned the bodies had been chopped up, and pieces sold for profit, they were devastated.

"It's been years now, and we're still reliving the nightmare and horror story that continues," Troy Harp said.

[WATCH: Man who donated loved ones testifies against Phoenix body donation facility]

Harp donated the bodies of both his mother and grandmother to BRC more than six years ago. He said this whole ordeal has left him unable to grieve their deaths.

He said the pain of testifying was already tough, but the fact that Gore was sitting right across from him made it worse.

"I can't stop looking at him in the eye," Harp said. "It's hard for me to look at the man, but I just want to look him at in the eye all the time."

Harp said he and the other families involved hope this trial creates regulation changes within the body donation business, not only in Arizona but throughout the entire country.

"You need a license to do your nails, but you don't need a license to take a body in for a donation and do what you want with it? That's ridiculous," he said.

Timothy O'Connor, an attorney for BRC, told the jury that every client signed a consent form allowing the sale of their loved ones' body parts.

"There is no Arizona law that prohibits a company such as BRC, and others, from charging a fee for what they do, and that fee can include being for profit."

Gore has already pleaded guilty to a felony for his role in mishandling human remains.

He was sentenced to one year deferred jail time and four years probation.

Gore denied the allegations outlined in the civil lawsuit.

Jason Barry is best known for his Dirty Dining Report which airs Fridays at 6:30 p.m. on CBS 5.  He is also the storyteller behind CBS 5's Pay It Forward which airs every Thursday at 6:30 p.m.
 
 


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