Brown's DNA may be extracted

File/Staff
Brown

AIKEN - A hearing has been set for Tuesday to take DNA from James Brown's body - which still has not been buried - to use in potential paternity claims against his estate.

Attorneys for the late singer's trustees filed a motion in Aiken County Common Pleas Court late Friday afternoon asking that DNA be taken before Mr. Brown's casket is sealed and entombed.

Rodney Peeples, one of the attorneys, said they expect potential illegitimate children of the singer soon will come forward and DNA is needed to either confirm or refute those claims.

It's best to take the DNA now, he said, because waiting will mean that "we would have to unseal the crypt."

"We didn't want an Anna Nicole circus," he said.

Mr. Brown's six children do not oppose the DNA request, Mr. Peeples said, but an attorney for the late singer's fourth wife has.

"We didn't want to bother the courts with this, but we couldn't resolve it," he said.

Robert Rosen, a Charleston attorney representing Tomi Rae Hynie Brown, responded in an e-mail that she always has agreed for DNA samples to be taken.

What they didn't agree with, he wrote, was the trustees "dictating the procedures as we want to insure that the testing be done by a qualified, impartial person."

The trustees have come under fire by both Mrs. Brown and his children, who've claimed that Buddy Dallas, David Cannon and Alford Bradley have mismanaged the singer's estate. Efforts by the children to remove them as executors of his will failed this week.

Mr. Rosen said he's planning to file a motion asking the courts to oversee the DNA sampling and to appoint a qualified professional from the Medical University of South Carolina.

He said he also wants the court to keep a sample of Mr. Brown's DNA in case a dispute arises later.

The hearing has been set for 2 p.m. in Walterboro, S.C., in front of 2nd Judicial Circuit Court Judge Jack Early.

It was confirmed this week that the children and Mrs. Brown have agreed on burial arrangements, although the man responsible for the singer's body says the body is still above ground and has not been buried.

Charlie Reid, the owner of the C.A. Reid Sr. Memorial Funeral Home, has taken care of the musician's body since he died Christmas Day at age 73.

He continues to watch over it at an undisclosed location, where the embalmed corpse is being preserved in a temperature-controlled room.

"I don't know anything," he said. "I'm reading a lot of stuff and I have no idea where it's coming from. I assume it's coming from Tomi Rae."

Mrs. Brown confirmed Thursday night that Mr. Brown had not been buried and that when he was, she would be there. The children originally said they were not burying their father because they planned to place his body in a mausoleum at his Beech Island estate, which would be turned into a museum similar to the Graceland tourist attraction created for Elvis Presley.

"No final arrangements have been made yet," Mr. Reid said. "I haven't talked to the children in two weeks."

Several of Mr. Brown's children have declined requests to comment on their father, and their Atlanta attorney, Louis Levenson, did not respond to messages left at his office.

The trustees of Mr. Brown's estate have not been included in discussions about the singer's burial.

They have, however, gotten bills from the children for Mr. Brown's funeral services in New York City and Augusta totalling about $150,000, Mr. Dallas said, even though the children never sought permission from the trustees.

"I'm out of the loop," Mr. Dallas said of the burial. "I don't know who is talking to who."

Reach Sandi Martin and Josh Gelinas at (803) 648-1395.