A young doctor who admitted severing a hand from a cadaver as a medical student, then giving it to a stripper he befriended, was given a suspended sentence Thursday by a Superior Court judge.
Ahmed Rashed, 27, pleaded guilty last month to a reduced charge of third-degree theft.
If Rashed violates the terms of what Judge Frederick DeVesa called his 15-month non-supervised probation, he could be brought back to court for sentencing of up to five years in prison. DeVesa also imposed a fine of $5,000.
Rashed's attorney, Kalman Geist, had asked for probation of 16 months, which would coincide with the completion of his medical residency.
Rashed would be prohibited from seeking a license to practice medicine in New Jersey while he is on probation. Middlesex County Assistant Prosecutor Judson Hamlin had asked for five years of probation.
In court, Rashed apologized for his actions, saying he "meant no harm" and that he has outgrown the immaturity he displayed.
"It does not excuse the action," he said.
Rashed declined to further comment after the hearing, but Geist said he wants to put the incident behind him.
"He made a silly mistake," Geist said.
She wanted hand, named it Freddy
Rashed gave the hand to exotic dancer Linda Kay, 31, during one of his visits to the club where she worked. He got to know her while he was a first-year medical student in 2002. She wanted a cadaver's hand, authorities said, and he complied.
Authorities said the hand was found in a jar on Kay's dresser in her South Plainfield home last summer. Friends have said she called it Freddy.
Kay was enrolled into the pretrial intervention program on Feb. 14. If she complies with its terms for one year, her criminal record will be erased.
Geist said his client removed the hand from a fully dissected cadaver at the University of Medicine and Dentistry in Newark that was scheduled for cremation, and was unaware that what he did was illegal. He graduated in 2005.
He had been in a residency program at Martin Luther King Hospital in Los Angeles, but will continue his residency at Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.