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Legal Battle Between B.B. King’s Estate and Children Takes a Twisted Turn With Murder Accusations


Karen Williams, daughter of B.B. King, speaks outside of Clark County Family Court earlier this month in Las Vegas. Williams is one of two of King’s children claiming the blues legend was poisoned. AP Photo/John Locher

As if losing one of the greatest blues stars of all time wasn’t tragic enough, the aftermath of B.B. King’s death has only continued to take one twisted turn after the next.

Shortly after King’s death on May 14, tensions sparked between four of his surviving adult children and his longtime business manager LaVerne Toney.

What seemed to be a simple feud over money and control has now turned into a grim murder mystery as King’s children insist that Toney was involved in their father’s deaths.

King’s attorney, Brent Bryson, is denying the claims, however, and says the blues legend’s children are just upset with the amount of money left to them in his will.

“It’s fiction,” Bryson told People on Wednesday about claims that Toney and two other aides poisoned King. “There’s no truth behind that at all.”

For some, Toney’s actions leading up to King’s death were enough to spark serious suspicions.

Four of his adult children — Karen Williams, Patty King, Rita Washington and Barbara King — stepped forward roughly a week after King’s death and said that Toney had barred them from seeing their father the week before he passed away.

Now Karen and Patty are taking the accusations further by alleging that their father was poisoned by Toney and two aides.

A Las Vegas coroner’s report said that King’s death was caused by small strokes brought on by his diabetes.

Toney has yet to offer a detailed explanation as to why she didn’t allow King’s children to see him, but Bryson had been adamantly insisting that the murder accusations are simply the result of greed.

“He left some amounts to his sibling, to his children, to his grandchildren and through his testamentary documents, and they’re probably not happy with that…It’s really all about money,” Bryson continued.

Larissa Drohobyczer, an attorney representing King’s daughters, refuted those accusations.

(AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

(AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

“Karen and Patty have nothing to gain financially by getting truth to how their father died,” she told People. “Nothing. No family members were allowed to see him for a week prior to his death, and that raised reasonable suspicion as to his cause of death. My clients just want answers.”

Still, the suspicions around King’s death were great enough for a coroner to perform an autopsy on Sunday to determine whether or not any lethal substances were ingested prior to his death.

In the midst of all the controversy, however, a happier farewell took over the streets of Memphis on Wednesday.

Despite rainy weather in the city, a parade in King’s honor took place along the famous Beale Street just ahead of his funeral planned for this weekend.

The iconic guitarist was originally from Mississippi where other blues stars like Keb’ Mo’ and Bobby Rush gathered together for the tribute.

King’s longtime drummer Tony Coleman was also present at the tribute.

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