B.B. King was poisoned, his daughters claim

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Riley B. King, the legendary guitarist known as B.B. King, whose velvety voice and economical, expressive style brought blues from the margins to the mainstream, died Thursday night.

CLARK COUNTY, Nev. — Two of B.B. King’s daughters are alleging that the blues legend was poisoned to death by his closest associates. But the coroner says preliminary autopsy results don’t support that contention.

King’s daughters, Patty King and Karen Williams, made the accusations in separate, but identically worded, affidavits filed over the weekend.

“I believe my father was poisoned and that he was administered foreign substances to induce his premature death,” they said in their affidavits. “I believe my father was murdered.”

King died May 14 in home hospice care in Las Vegas at age 89.

No investigation was conducted at the time of his death. And King’s attending physician listed the cause as multi-infarct dementia, which is caused by a series of small strokes.

But the daughter’s say that two of King’s associates gave him medication to induce diabetic shock.

John Fudenberg, the coroner for Clark County, Nevada, told CNN that initial autopsy results found “no evidence to substantiate the allegations.” But full forensic results will take six to eight weeks.

No comment

Both women accuse LaVerne Toney, King’s business manager, and Myron Johnson, his personal assistant, of neglect.

They say the associates are medically unlicensed, but were seen giving medications, fluids and foreign substances to the musician that were then locked away.

The women say “King was sequestered from all family members” the week prior to his death, and that Toney and Johnson were the only people with him.

The daughters’ lawyer, Larissa Drohobyczer, provided the affidavits to CNN, but wouldn’t comment on the case. King and Williams also refused to comment.

CNN attempted to contact the Las Vegas Police late Monday night about the investigation but was unsuccessful. CNN was also unable to reach the associates who are being accused.

But Toney told the Associated Press that the the daughters have been “making allegations all along. What’s new?”

Power struggle

The allegations are the latest salvo in a bid by some of King’s children to wrest control of the late singer’s assets, believed to be in the millions.

King had 15 children from several different relationships. Eleven children are still living.

Earlier this year, Patty King, Karen Williams and a third daughter, Rita Washington, went to court, accusing Toney — the business manager — of elder abuse and neglect. But a judge tossed out the case, for lack of evidence

In the weekend affidavits, Patty King and Williams requested a toxicology analysis or autopsy be conducted to determine the cause of their father’s death.

On Sunday, the singer’s body was shipped from mortuary to the coroner’s office.

“The family has made some allegations. I can’t go into specifics,” Fudenberg told CNN. “We were contacted by several of the family members’ legal counsel. They were making allegations of foul play.”

A public viewing for the musician is scheduled for Friday at the B.B. King Museum in Indianola, Mississippi. Funeral services are set for the following day.

“Our investigation will not prohibit or delay the services they have planned,” Fudenberg said.