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Jury Reaches Verdict In King Ranch Lawsuit

(July 12, 2007)--A jury in San Antonio Thursday affirmed a contested will in the trial over the estate of an heir of the legendary King Ranch.

Probate jurors found that B.K. Johnson was not so addled by alcoholism that he couldn't make a will or set up a trust.

His daughters and grandchildren had challenged the will.

Johnson died in 2001 and left an estate worth up to $60 million.

But his final will and trust, after dozens of previous versions, allowed his third wife, Laura McAllister Johnson, to draw from the trust until her death.

Johnson had set up trusts for his grandchildren and daughters, Sarah Johnson Pitt and Cecilia Johnson McMurrey, worth millions.

But they contended he never would have left them out of his final will had it not been for the undue influence of Laura Johnson and JP Morgan Trust.

The jury awarded the daughters an additional $1 million.

The jury did find that JP Morgan Trust unduly influenced Johnson in the setup of his will and trust, which gave the firm significant say over the charities that would benefit.

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