Sherman Hemsley's Body Can Finally Be Buried, Judge Throws Out Lawsuit By Man Claiming to Be Actor's Long-Lost Brother
El Paso County Judge Patricia Chew ruled Friday afternoon that actor Sherman Hemsley's will is valid. Flora Isela Enchinton-Bernal, the late actor's longtime friend, is listed as the sole beneficiary of Sherman's estate in the will the actor signed in June, about a month before his death on July 24. The judge's ruling means that Hemsley's estate -- valued at about $50,000 -- will go to Flora, whom Hemsley refers to as his "beloved partner." Richard Thornton, 71, of Philadelphia, challenged the validity of the will, claiming Sherman wasn't of sound mind. He claimed he was is the person to decide the fate of Sherman's body and his estate. DNA testing proved that Richard (pictured, below) is Sherman's half-brother, but the judge did not allow the DNA results because they were not submitted by the Oct. 15 deadline. During testimony, Richard said Sherman was born from an extramarital relationship his father had. "He was a Methodist minister and would have been bad for his career," Richard said of their father. He added that the actor introduced him as his brother in 2011 in front of a crowd during a concert in Cherry Hill, NJ. However, the two did not keep in touch. "We just had two separate lives," he said. The actor's body has been is locked in a refrigeration unit at an El Paso funeral home since he died on July 24 from complications of lung cancer. If Richard doesn't file an appeal, Sherman's body will finally be laid to rest. Flora (pictured, below) said she wants to bury her friend at Fort Bliss National Cemetery and invited Richard to attend. But, Richard's attorney said he would seek an immediate stay of the judge's ruling to prevent the burial from taking place. He said they will appeal. Drama!