On Wednesday, Superior Judge Robert McBurney of Fulton County ordered that Martin Luther King Jr.’s Nobel Peace Prize and Bible be stored inside a safety deposit box. Only the court will know the location and have access to the assets while King’s children sort out their differences.
The said items are in the possession of Bernice, King’s daughter, who has been having legal disputes with her brothers, Martin Luther King III and Dexter King, over controlling the Nobel Peace Prize and the Bible. According to Bernice, her brothers are planning to sell their father’s assets. The two brothers are said to be in control of King’s estate.
Estate of Martin Luther King Jr. Inc.’s lawyer, William Hill, stated that the Nobel Peace Prize and the Bible belong to the estate, based on an agreement that was made in 1995 wherein the heirs gave up their inheritance. However, Bernice has allegedly sequestered the items.
Bernice’s lawyer, Eric Barnum, says that Bernice does not believe that the two items are included in his father’s estate. Moreover, she firmly states that they are treasured possessions that should never be sold. Barnum says that she is just keeping the items in question from being sold.
The arguments of lawyers for the two sides lasted nearly three hours before the judge ordered the items to be controlled by the court instead. Both parties agreed that the judge’s provisional solution was fair while the siblings are trying to decide on what to do with the assets.
This incident is not the first time that the King siblings have been at at odds over their father's estate. In 2008, Dexter was sued by Martin Luther King III for using the estate’s fund for his own gains. The issue has since been settled privately.
Bernice King speaks at press conference
Image via Wikimedia Commons