Legal fight over estate of man deprived of water in jail



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MILWAUKEE (AP) — A legal battle has developed over the division of the multimillion-dollar estate of a man who died after guards at the Milwaukee County Jail deprived him of water.

Seven people have come forward as children of Terrill Thomas, who is listed on the birth certificates of five of those children, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.

The dispute over Thomas' estate comes after Milwaukee County and the company that provided health care services to the jail, Armor Correctional Health Services, paid $6.7 million to settle a lawsuit brought by Thomas' estate. Thomas died in 2016, a week after he was put in isolation with no access to water.

The name of one child did not emerge until November, when the child's mother claimed Thomas was the father. No father is listed on that child's birth certificate.

"In my 29 years of practice I never had somebody show up this late in the game on proof of heirship," said Robert Rondini, the court-appointed special administrator in the probate case. “Especially in a case with as high a media profile as this one.”

Thomas was placed in isolation at the jail because guards say they saw him stuffing his shirt and pieces of mattress into his toilet to flood the cell. Three jail officials were convicted of criminal charges in his death.

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The Associated Press

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