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Prosecutors won't file criminal charges

8/18/2003

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Criminal charges won't be filed against two
of Ted Williams' children who were accused by their brother-in-law
of forging a note stating the slugger wanted to be frozen after death.

A laboratory analysis of the note determined Williams' signature
appears to be genuine and there is no way forgery could be proved
beyond a reasonable doubt, concluded Assistant State Attorney Mark
Simpson.

He also said the note didn't fall into any category specified by
law about which documents can be considered for a criminal forgery
charge. In such a case, someone must be injured or defrauded and
there was no victim in the Williams complaint, Simpson said.

"Therefore, proving the note was not signed on the date of
November 2, 2000 or not signed in each others presence would not in
and of itself prove a crime," Simpson wrote in a memo Friday.
"The probate court remains the proper venue to resolve all the
questions raised in this matter."

Williams' son-in-law said he was disappointed with the decision.

"I believe the note is fraudulent," Mark Ferrell said Monday.

The state attorney's office that covers Citrus County, where
Williams lived, began the inquiry after Ferrell filed a complaint.

Ferrell's wife, Bobby-Jo Williams Ferrell, challenged the
decision by her two siblings to send their father's body to an
Arizona cryonics company where it was frozen after his July 5,
2002, death.

She claimed Williams' 1996 will made clear he wanted to be
cremated and his ashes scattered off the Florida coast. After
running out of money to pay her legal bills, she dropped the
challenge in December and reached a settlement with her siblings.

The grease-stained note, dated Nov. 2, 2000, is signed by
Williams, who was then hospitalized, his son, John Henry Williams,
and his daughter, Claudia Williams. They hope that one day medical
science will bring their father back to life.

John Henry Williams didn't return a phone call Monday seeking
comment, while Claudia Williams has an unlisted telephone number.

Two of Ted Williams' caretakers had also said Claudia Williams
wasn't at the hospital on Nov. 2, 2000, and that she didn't know
her father was there until days later.

Claudia Williams later submitted an affidavit stating she was
there and signed the note with her father and brother. John Henry
Williams' attorney has said the note became stained when his client
left it in his car's trunk.