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Williams clan feud heading for court

A Citrus County judge on Tuesday will weigh in on the Ted Williams feud for the first time since a dispute began over the famous baseball player's remains.

During the hearing, the attorney for John-Henry and Claudia Williams will ask a judge to approve a restraining order against their half-sister, Bobby-Jo Williams Ferrell.

They charge Ferrell with "harassing and attempting to intimidate" potential witnesses, specifically their father's former lawyer, Eric Abel. The restraining order would bar Ferrell from trying to intimidate Abel.

Ferrell's lawyer denied the harassment charge. Abel did not return a telephone call seeking comment Wednesday.

It is unlikely Williams' three feuding children will appear in court Tuesday, according to their lawyers. They are not scheduled to address the disposition of their father's body, thought to have been shipped to an Arizona lab and cryonically frozen hours after his death July 5. A court date on that matter has not yet been set.

Circuit Judge Patricia Thomas is scheduled to consider the request for the restraining order at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Citrus County courthouse in Inverness.

John-Henry and Claudia Williams this week withdrew their request to reach a private settlement with Ferrell.

In a telephone interview Wednesday, Naples-based attorney Robert Goldman, who represents the two siblings, said Ferrell and her lawyer have told members of the media there was no chance for a settlement in the case.

"It has become very clear to us that they were not acting in good faith," Goldman said.

Ferrell's lawyer, John Heer, said Goldman's statement was exaggerated and his client has always expressed a willingness to cooperate. But middle ground is proving difficult to find in the case, he added.

If they are to continue with private talks, Heer said, his client wants to see documented proof her father wished to be cryonically preserved after his death.

"It's really kind of time to put up or shut up," Heer said.

Ferrell began a public battle to have her father's remains removed from Alcor Life Extension Foundation the day after his death, touching off a battle with her two younger half-siblings, who maintain their father wanted to be frozen and are asking for privacy.

Ferrell said the former Hall of Famer wanted to be cremated and have his ashes sprinkled over the Florida Keys, as outlined in his December 1996 will and testament.

John-Henry and Claudia Williams argue that their father changed his mind after the will was drafted and expressed a desire to be frozen after his death.

_ Carrie Johnson can be reached at (352) 860-7309 or cjohnsonsptimes.com.

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