Vincent Bright, 48, whom police said was keeping his father's body in the basement freezer of his home, was charged with disinterment of a body. He was arraigned by video from the Wayne County Jail.
"It's an unusual case, it's not something you see every day," said Gerald Karafa, Bright's court-appointed lawyer.
The crime is punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
Clarence Bright's body disappeared from a cemetery just hours before it was to be buried. Police arrested Bright and another man the next day after finding them with an empty casket in the back of their van.
Officers, acting on a tip from other family members, found the corpse in Vincent Bright's home on the city's east side.
Police Lt. Harold Rochon said the son was religious and took the body hoping for it to be miraculously resurrected. Clarence Bright was 93 years old when he died.
Authorities said no charges have been brought against the other man because there was insufficient evidence.