Father of Tupac Shakur is denied share of estate

Los Angeles Times Staff Writers

A Los Angeles Superior Court judge Tuesday denied an inheritance claim by the biological father of slain actor-rapper Tupac Shakur, attorneys said.

New Jersey trucker William Garland had sought to inherit half of Shakur’s estate, which could be worth millions. But Shakur’s mother, Afeni, vigorously opposed the claim, saying Garland was an absentee father who contributed little to Tupac’s upbringing.

The claim challenged the legal standard for fatherhood. “This is a big defeat for deadbeat dads. Being the designated sperm is not enough,” said New York attorney Rick Fishbein, who with Afeni Shakur manages the estate.

According to testimony during a brief trial in the fall, DNA tests showed to a 99.97% certainty that Garland sired Tupac. But, Fischbein and Afeni Shakur argued, DNA alone does not a dad make.

The testimony showed that Garland’s documented contributions to Tupac’s care included $820, a bag of peanuts and a ticket to “Rollerball.” Garland, who never married Afeni Shakur, did not see Tupac during 15 of his 25 years.

Superior Court Judge Arnold Gold found that Garland could not inherit because his contributions to support and care for his son were “minuscule,” Fishbein said.

Garland’s attorney, Mitchell Reinis, said there was a “good chance” for an appeal because the decision was based on a law that went into effect some 20 years after Tupac Shakur’s birth.

Shakur’s 2--CD record, released 10 days ago, was the No. 2 top-selling album last week.