9/11 victim’s bones will be tested in $1M paternity case
A Manhattan judge ordered the city's chief medical examiner to release bone fragments belonging to a 9/11 victim - so a 24-year-old Texas man can finally determine whether the late Cantor Fitzgerald trader was his father.
A positive result would position Austin Rutherford Colby of Houston to cash in on the $1 million estate of the late Michael Morgan Taylor. Manhattan Surrogate's Court Judge Rita Mella ordered the ME to give Colby the DNA sample from its mass-fatality department over the objections of the late trader's family.
Taylor's sister Mary Kay Crenshaw, 55, of Conway, Ark., said the DNA test would be "a further desecration" of her brother's remains and a "reopening of her own emotional wounds."
The high-yield bond broker was 42 when he was killed in the attacks.
Crenshaw acknowledges that her brother had a relationship with Taylor's mom - who goes by Lady Gwen de Ashborough - but insists he never fathered her child.
Ashborough, whose legal name is Gwendolyn D. Phillips, 57, spent time in jail for skipping bail. She also claims to be a world-champion polo player who was given the honorific title "Lady Gwen de Ashborough" by England's royal family.
Phillips, who is black, insists the white Taylor never acknowledged paternity because he was ashamed of his mixed-race child.
"Don't allow racial divide nor financial neglect and mistakes keep you from correcting a very serious wrong at the expense of your grandson," Phillips recently wrote to her late lover's parents.
Taylor's name is on Colby's birth certificate, and Phillips had brought a child-support case against Taylor that was pending when he died.
But Crenshaw notes that Phillips and her son waited until 2014 - 13 years after Taylor died - to claim paternity.
She says the bid is nothing more than an attempt to "harass and to extort funds from [his] family."
But Judge Mella found Phillips' paternity claim persuasive.
"On cross-examination significant questions were raised as to Philips' general credibility," she wrote in her ruling.
"Phillips' claim that decedent is Colby's father, however, remained consistent: She made this claim at the time of Colby's birth, when she filed the paternity and support petition and throughout the course of the litigation in this court," the judge wrote.
If the DNA profiles match, Colby will still have to meet a legal requirement showing that Taylor "openly and notoriously acknowledged the child as his own" during his lifetime.
That bar is impossible to meet, said Crenshaw's attorney.
"There's no evidence whatsoever of that," the lawyer, T. Randolph Harris, told The Post.
Phillips and Colby did not return requests for comment.