Family Friend Admits to Affair 43 Years Later (Full Episode) | Paternity Court

Family Friend Admits to Affair 43 Years Later (Full Episode) | Paternity Court


You may be seated. Good morning,
Your Honor. Good Morning, Ron. This is the case of
Feagin V. Pinkston.
Thank you, sir.
Good day everyone. AUDIENCE: Good day. Mr. Feagin you’re here to
prove that Ms. Pinkston
is your biological daughter. Yes, Your Honor. You claim you kept
this secret for 40 years, but now say the DNA
will prove your case. That’s right,
Your Honor. Ms. Pinkston,
you stand before me
without any doubts that Mr. Feagin is not
your biological father, and the man
who raised you, is. Yes, ma’am. So, Ms. Pinkston,
what upset you most
about Mr. Feagin’s claim, that you are his
biological daughter? Well, Your Honor, I met Mr. Feagin here
when I was 16 years old. I never knew of him, never heard
nothing about him. And then all of a sudden,
one day, my mom decided
to take me with her to a friend’s house. My mom calls me
to the dining room
and she goes, “I want you
to meet somebody.” They get to talking to me
and Mr. Feagin and my mom, then my mom just says,
“Hey, by the way,
this is your father.” Who did you think
your father was? Did you know your father? This is my father. Mr. Gus Pinkston. This is who I’ve known
my entire life. JUDGE LAKE: And he was
married to your mother? TONIA: My entire life. And so you grew up believing,
“This is my father,
my biological father.” Yes, ma’am… And it wasn’t
until this moment? This was my biological
father for 43 years. When I was 27 years old, my biological father
passed away. Mr. Feagin,
start from the beginning.
I want to understand why you believe Ms. Pinkston
is your biological daughter? Me and Ms. Pinkston’s
mother had an affair. We worked together,
at a plant. We got to know each other. You spent a lot
of time together. Lot of time… Because you worked
a lot of hours together. Yes, we did. Okay. Did you know
she was married? Well, yes, at the time.
It was wrong what we… How long did
the affair last? Five or six months,
maybe somewhere… I mean, she came to me
before I left the job and told me that
she was pregnant. When she told you,
did she say, “And I think
you are the father”? Or you might be? She told me
I was the father.And she told me
we’re gonna keep
this a secret.
Well, then we knew
we had to be quiet,
’cause she was married.
And they knew it was wrong
for what they did to my dad. She did not want this secret
to get out, and you agreed? FEAGIN: I agreed. She was married… I agreed. So you knew that
this child would be
born into the marriage and that this
other gentleman, the man that
Ms. Pinkston believes
is her biological father, would raise
Ms. Pinkston as his own? Yes. Ms. Pinkston, as a child,
you always thought
your mother’s husband was your biological father? That was my father. No one ever told you
anything different? No, no, Your Honor. Only reason why this
whole thing came out, for the cat to
get out the bag, is when I was 16, they told me that
Kenny was my father, the only reason
why was because my mom thought I was dating
one of his family members. And that’s why
they told me. But needless to say,
it was not me,
it was my sister that was dating
his family member. JUDGE LAKE: Oh! And so they felt like
they needed to tell you because you were
dating your cousin? TONIA: Yes. When they told me about it, it was… That was like
the worst day of my life. Because, my mom
sit down and goes,
“This is your father.” I’m like,
“No, my dad is at work, “so what in the world
are you talking about?” And next thing
you know, there’s tears everywhere,
everybody’s crying. (STAMMERING) We… It was pretty much
the worst day of my life. That was the… It was
the worst day of my life. And you’re 16 years old? Yeah. FEAGIN: Yes, she was. And I can see
it hurts you right now. Oh, yeah! Just thinking about it.
Did you not
want to believe it? Or you just… I didn’t believe it. She…
To this day, Your Honor,
she does not believe that. That’s why… (TONIA STAMMERING) Did you ever talk
to your father? The man you
believed your… No! My dad passed away,
never knowing this secret from the time I was 16 until I was 27. We never spoke
on this subject, ever. So, at 16 years old, you were called upon
to keep this secret as well? Yes. And you had to,
you never spoke a word of it? No. You all asked
a 16-year-old girl to keep a secret
like that, Mr. Feagin? No, we did not.
I did not ask her to… Her mom insisted that this
would stay between us and her,
when we told her. She was raised
by Mister… By Gus. And I know how much
she loved him. She never would
call me her father or… I’ve never called him
my father because
my father died. So… It never felt right to call
some other man “Dad” when my dad passed away. And I understood that
Your Honor, I did, I… It hurt me that
she couldn’t, and I… For all these years,
I believe, I always thought
he had some kind of
inkling that I was… You felt like he knew? It was just
a feeling that, in my heart, that
I felt that he had
to know something. Because I love
this girl so much. Did you have
an occasion to meet her father, the man
she believes? Couple of times, I met him. You did? Yes. He used to come out
to the house when my dad
was alive, and they… JUDGE LAKE: Mr. Feagin
used to come to your house when your dad
was alive? Yeah. I did. I did,
Your Honor, I did. And what were you
posing as? A family friend? Family friend,
that’s what it was. The secret was still on. The secret was still on. And so, you just
come by the house? But you were really coming by
to see Ms. Pinkston? Well, I was hoping
that she was there, so I could see her… Your Honor, just… All these years, just having
something in your heart
like that you could not tell, it… It hurts,
like she’s saying… It hurt me! TONIA: I live with this guilt. I’ve lived this guilt
from 16 to 27, never telling Mr. Pinkston that Mr. Feagin’s
supposed to be my dad. My dad died,
not knowing none of this! Do you regret
not telling him? I def… Oh… I do. I felt like
if they had enough… Well, to tell me about it, how come they didn’t just
let everything out the bag and everybody sit down
and everybody talk about it. I can’t imagine having
to get such life-altering
news at that point. What did you feel like when
you were looking at the man you believed
to be your father? TONIA:I was
Daddy’s little girl.
I had kids,
and I still lived home
with my mom and dad.
I never left
my mom and dad’s side. When it was
time to fix stuff,
it was me and my dad. When it’s time to go to work,
it’s me and my dad. And so, Mr. Feagin,
you’re saying that
you, basically, kept the secret
to honor her mother. Yes. And her wishes. Yes. What was it like
for you? You believe you have
a biological child, you’ve had an affair
with a woman, and now you can’t
even say anything or be acknowledged
as a father. How was that for you? (STAMMERING) It hurt me,
Your Honor, it did, in that sense,
and just to see her, do the things that
a father would do. I missed all that. So, Ms. Pinkston,
your mother told Mr. Feagin he is your
biological father. So, what is your doubt? I had only one father. And I had one father
my whole entire life, and that’s Mr. Pinkston. That’s my dad! Mr. Pinkston’s my dad. Me and… Was he on your
birth certificate? Yes. Me and Mr. Feagin,
we never… JUDGE LAKE:
What is that? Is that
your birth certificate? Yes, ma’am. Ron, will you
hand me that please? Yes, ma’am. Me and Mr. Feagin,
we never had that father-daughter
relationship ever. He’s always been,
you know, this periodically in my life, out my life,
in my life, out my life. So, on this
certificate of birth,your father’s name
is listed as Gus Pinkston Jr.
TONIA:Correct.
That’s my father!
FEAGIN:We had her
believe that, too.
We had to. She wanted to keep this
a secret, her mom. I could’ve brought this out. But due to her wishes
being married, which is wrong, we did this, Your Honor,
reluctantly, I did. I went through this,
I mean, it hurts to this day to hear her
call him father. When my dad passed away, um… This is probably
a few days after
he passed away. Uh, we was all
at my mom’s house. And Mr. Feagin,
he comes over, and I had my kids there. My kids really
didn’t know him. But when my dad
passed away, he decided to take it upon
hisself to tell my kids that he is
their grandfather. When you went
to speak to the children, had you had a conversation
with her first,
to ask if it’s okay? I figured it was already done,
Your Honor. Through her. No! You thought that there was
a level of acceptance. You thought… From… From her too telling them
that I am her father and I am
their grandfather. But when he told my kids
that he is their grandfather, my kids were destroyed. I always knew that
she felt Gus was her father. As bad as I wanted
her to feel me, she… I never
got that from her. And actually, to this day,
I do not have that from her because she does believe
he is her father. Which I believe, this is,
and I know this is
my daughter, Your Honor. For the simple fact,
it’s in my heart, (STAMMERS) I know she is. Before we continue
with the testimony, I actually have
an independent witness that I’d like to call. She’s joining us
from her hometown, it’s Ms. Melissa Pinkston. Can you hear me,
Ms. Pinkston? Yes, ma’am. You are the defendant’s
sister, is that correct? Yes, ma’am. Tell me what you know about
this huge paternity secret. Your Honor,
um, honestly, um, I don’t even wanna
talk about it. I mean, it’s been this long. Should’ve left it alone. I love you, Tonia, but this is something I really don’t want part of. My mom was a good woman. My dad was awesome. If it was a secret,
it should’ve stayed a secret. And if you can hold it
for 43 years, you should’ve just
left it alone! Now, there’s family that
didn’t know that know. It just hurts. Did you ever
overhear anything? Yeah, as a young kid, you know, when grown-ups
doing grown up things. And they’re with
their friends and, you know, sometimes people
just talk and they think kids
are back in the background. But it’s not always like that. And I heard it,
but I act like
I didn’t hear it. What did you hear? Um… That Kenny was her father. (AUDIENCE GASP) JUDGE LAKE: Who did you
hear say that? My mom
and a couple of friends. This is something
my mom didn’t want
none of her kids to know. But it took for my dad
to pass away, for all these dark secrets
to come out that should’ve stayed in. And I feel,
even though he’s gone,
it’s still disrespectful. For my dad. For my mom. It should’ve been left alone. And I see this really
hurts you, Ms. Pinkston. Yes, Your Honor. I can see. Just listening to
your sister speak. Everybody gonna find out,
because we’re here! Other than that,
no one would ever know. On my dad’s side
of the family. The Pinkstons know
it’s a secret that is just now coming out. And so, the stakes today
are very high. Yes. Your Honor, it means a lot
because Tonia would be
my only surviving child. I lost my son. Um… And they were
awful close. Yes. They were closer
than me and her. Really? I was very
close to him. Did you, did you
look at him and say, “Does he look like
my brother, is this
really my brother?” Or did you just
accept him in your life
as Mr. Feagin’s son and… I just accepted him
in my life.
I’ve loved him. I’ve loved him. Not just I’ve just lost
Mr. Feagin’s son, I lost my brother, too,
near two years ago. So… Now there’s no more
boys in our family. My son was
crazy about her. And that’s the closest
I ever seen him with anyone that I knew of,
his friends or anyone. He loved her.
He really did. And I loved him. Well, I think the only way
we can figure out how to move forward
is to get the results. Are you ready? Yes, Your Honor. JUDGE LAKE: All right. Oh, Lord, yeah. Ron, the envelope please. I know this is emotional. If you’d like to take
a seat, you’re welcome. I know this is
a very difficult day. I already know. In my heart,
I know she’s mine. In the case of
Feagin V. Pinkston,
when it comes to
43-year-old Tonia Pinkston… JUDGE LAKE: Mr. Feagin. Yes. Yes, yes. You… Yes. …are not her father. Oh, my God! Oh, Lord, no. (CRYING) Oh, no. No, no, no. Tonia… (CONTINUES CRYING) Oh, no! Tonia. Lord have mercy,
Jesus. No. (SNIFFLES) Are you all right, Tonia? TONIA: This is something… I can’t believe this. …that needed
to be known. Yes. JUDGE LAKE: It is! It is! I know this was not the news
you wanted, Mr. Feagin. FEAGIN: Oh, no. I know, for you, Ms. Pinkston,
this has been years! This has been…
For almost 30 years, you’ve had to endure
this level of confusion! Tonia, I’m so sorry,
sweetheart. And I hope you understand,
Ms. Pinkston, that I don’t believe
they were trying to
hurt you by telling you, I think your mother
truly believed Mr. Feagin was your biological father. (FEAGIN CHUCKLES) Lifetime of torture
for nothing. Mr. Feagin, you look
absolutely shocked. I am, I am. ‘Cause I always believed it. Where do we go
from here? (CHUCKLES) Together.
Together. (APPLAUSE) I’m so sorry. Wow… JUDGE LAKE:
I know the truth does hurt, but I really think
from this moment forward, you don’t have to live
with doubt, uncertainty,
confusion. And you know that
this man loves you. He has loved you
your whole life. And believed you
were his little girl. And family extends outside
of biological territory. Yes, it does. And so, I hope that
you all will continue to be
in one and other’s lives. And please take advantage
of the counseling
and resources we have for you. I wish you the
very best of luck.
Court is adjourned. (APPLAUSE)

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