Estate of man killed by police officer subject of nasty dispute

Samuel DuBose, an unarmed black man, was shot and killed by officer Ray Tensing during a traffic stop on July 19, 2015 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Since then, Ray Tensing has been indicted on charges of murder and voluntary manslaughter. He has pleaded not guilty. The officer was also fired by the University of Cincinnati for whom he worked.

Samuel DuBose was 43 years old at the time he was killed. He was not married and he has 11 children. It is unknown if he had a will when he passed away.

After his shooting, his parents became involved in a nasty battle over who is to control what happens to his estate. The dispute is partly fuelled by the anticipated settlement of a wrongful death lawsuit. It is expected that damages will be in the multi-million dollar range. The dispute is between his mother, Audrey DuBose, and his father, Sam Johnson. It is alleged that Ms. DuBose is unfit to oversee the estate due to various alleged claims involving gambling and theft. Allegations were also made that after Samuel DuBose’s death two men who appeared to be Ms. DuBose’s sons filled a truck with property from his apartment.

In response, Ms. DuBose’s attorney has stated that none of the allegations are true and their intent was to disparage Ms. DuBose. Furthermore, Sam Johnson under law would not qualify to administer the estate because he has served prison time. Sam Johnson sought to gain control of the estate through his attorney, Blake Maislin who applied to become administrator on his behalf.

None of the above allegations have been proven in Court.

A hearing took place on November 19, 2015 in Hamilton County Probate Court. Neither parent was made administrator. Instead, the deceased’s 18-year-old daughter Raegan Brooks was appointed the administrator. The Judge determined that since Samuel DuBose was not married, his daughter would get control.

Settlement negotiations in the wrongful death lawsuit are allegedly also under way. It will be interesting to see what happens in this dispute as the ┬álitigation arising from Samuel DuBose’s death proceeds to settlement or judgment. His daughter would have control over management and distribution of funds received by his estate. Given how bitter the dispute between his parents has become, it may get really nasty once his daughter starts making decisions affecting the family. Hopefully the parties will proceed in a less litigious manner going forward. Given the high profile of the circumstances of Samuel DuBose’s death, it may be best to resolve any estate disputes privately without media attention. Negative media attention related to future litigation is only going to tarnish his memory. This sad case once again underscores the need to have an up- to- date estate plan.

For more information on the Samuel DuBose estate dispute click here.