OAKLAND, Calif. -- The Berkely Police Department's prime suspect in the murder of Peoples Temple defectors Jeannie and Al Mills received the largest share of their almost $500,000 estate. Alameda County Superior Court Probate Commissioner Diane Yu held a brief hearing Friday and awarded the estate to the children of the couple that left no will.
Son Edward Mills, 20, was given almost $247,000.
Mills, who was never was charged with the murder of his parents in 1980, was home at the time of the fatal shootings but heard nothing, he said, because he was in a drug stupor. Later, police found traces of gunpowder on his hands but the murder weapon was never found.
Mills' four stepsisters and stepbrother each inherited $52,727.
Mills received most of the estate because of the unique circumstances surrounding his parents' deaths and because he was Mrs. Mills' only son by a first marriage.
Mills' step-siblings were Al Mill's children by a previous marriage. The estate was split half-and-half between each parent's chidren instead of shared equally among all six. The couple and their 16-year-old daughter, Daphene, were shot to death in their Berkeley home Feb. 26, 1980.
Despite circumstantial evidence against Mills, then 17, police said there was not enough evidence to accused him of murder.
Both Al and Jeannie Mills defected from the Peoples Temple, a group led by the Rev. Jim Jones, which had a jungle retreat at Jonestown, Guyana.
The religious cult gained notoriety in 1978, when Rep. Leo Ryan, D-Calif., and four members of his party were assassinated on the encampment airstrip and nearly a thousand followers committed a mass suicide ritual, drinking cyanide-laced Kool-Aid.