Appeals Court Rules Claim-Seekers Can't Challenge Identity of Prince's Father

Appeals Court Rules Claim-Seekers Can't Challenge Identity of Prince's Father Photo: KSTP/file

September 05, 2017 05:09 PM

The state court of appeals has affirmed a Carver County Court's decision that the Minnesota Parentage Act and probate code exclude five individuals who had submitted claims as potential heirs to Prince's estate.

Those claims rested on the argument that the late Minnesota music icon's father was not John L. Nelson, the man listed on his birth certificate, and whom Prince always identified as his parent. But rather that his father was one of two other individuals, which would have made four or one of the claim-seekers the singer's half siblings.

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The decision from the appellate court was filed Tuesday. 

It states that between June 10 and 16 of this year, appellants Darcell Gresham Johnston, Loya Janel Wilson, Loyal James Gresham III and Orrine Gresham submitted affidavits of heirship and parentage information questionnaires to the special administrator in charge of Prince's estate claiming his father was one Loyal James Gresham Jr., which would have made them half-siblings.

Another individual, Venita Jackson Leverette, submitted the same information claiming Prince's father was one Alfred Jackson, which would have made her a half sibling.

The special administrator rejected those claims, finding that because "they were married when Decedent was born, Mattie Della (Shaw) ... and John Lewis Nelson ... are presumed to be the Decedent's genetic parents" and that the appellants could not challenge that presumption now.

The Carver County District Court upheld that decision because "John L. Nelson is the presumed, genetic and adjudicated father of the Decedent and, as the applicants have neither met the standing or timeliness requirements to rebut the presumption of paternity ... (they) ... are not, as a matter of law, intestate heirs to the Decedent."

The state court of appeals affirmed that decision. 

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Frank Rajkowski

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