ATLANTA, GA (WALB) - A Brooks County dispute over the will of an elderly woman's $500,000 estate, which a man who is unrelated to her family, claims she intended to leave to him, was set to be heard in the Georgia Supreme Court next week, but the case has been settled.
The Supreme Court issued a notice Thursday afternoon that the parties in the case have come to an agreement, and they are withdrawing the case.
Luther and Mary Lee Parker, a couple in their 80s who lived in Quitman, visited Charles Foster's auto parts store in Valdosta, and they became friends. Foster went fishing with the Parkers, and assisted the elderly couple with shopping, errands and home chores.
Foster claimed that Luther never wrote a will, but that when Luther died in 1998, Foster found a draft of a will in Luther's typewriter which stated, "I leave my best wishes to members of my family, including Mary's (family) and I want them to get whatever they gave me – NOTHING."
Mary Lee, who only had a 4th or 5th grade education, had depended on her husband, and was unaware that her husband had saved more than $500,000 and did not know the value of her home.
Foster claims that Luther made a "literal dying wish on his deathbed," asking Foster to take care of his wife. Distant family members later blocked him out of Mary Lee Parker's life. Mary Lee Parker died in 2006 at the age of 90.
But Mary Lee had a grandniece, Kathleen Cooper, and had helped raise Sandra Wortman, while working as a maid and nanny most of her life for Wortman's family.
In 2015, Foster won a decision in Brooks County Superior Court to move forward with the will.
Cooper and Wortman then filed a Motion for New Trial and a Motion to stop it, and the judge granted both motions and reversed the jury's verdict. Foster now appeals to the Georgia Supreme Court.
Tyler Randolph is the Attorney for Foster, and John Edwards, C. Gerald Spencer are the lawyers for Cooper. Spencer's office told WALB that the terms of the agreement were a mater of attorney-client privilege, and he would not comment on it.