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Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Hannah Upton pays with her life for the corrupt actions of lawyers and private judge Gary Pate in her parents' contentious Alabama divorce case


Hannah Yeilding Upton
How can the decisions of a corrupt judge affect those connected to a divorce case? It can cost an individual her life. We know because we've seen it happen in Birmingham, Alabama.

The case in question is Upton v. Upton, a divorce case involving Linda Upton and her husband of more than 30 years -- multimillionaire industrialist Bill Upton, president of Vulcan Steel Products in Pelham.

The Uptons have one biological child, an adult son, and took several adopted and foster children, most of them with special needs, into their Mountain Brook home over about a 20-year period. One of those adopted children was Hannah Yeilding Upton, who was almost 20 years old when Bill Upton sued for divorce in 2010.

Bill Upton eventually admitted in court documents to having an extramarital affair with Gincie Walker, whom the Uptons had raised as their daughter since she was about 11 years old, and that was the driving event that tore apart the Upton family.

Bill Upton and Gincie Walker Upton, now in her early 30s, are married and live in Mountain Brook. According to court documents, Gincie Upton grew up in an abusive home in Shelby County and has been diagnosed with multiple-personality disorder, including roughly 30 distinct personalities. Her biological father is Dr. William Flynn Walker, who currently is serving a 27-year sentence at a federal prison in North Carolina following his guilty plea on charges of child sexual abuse and sodomy.

Linda Upton has remarried and still lives in the former marital residence on Shook Hill Road, although she had to pay Bill Upton for his half of the property -- despite his admitted egregious marital misconduct. But that is far from the most dubious decision Private Judge Gary Pate made in the case. In fact, the sprawling record in the Upton case, which includes proceedings related to the children in Jefferson County Family Court, indicate Alabama's dysfunctional "justice" system betrayed the Upton children -- with tragic consequences.

We've seen nothing in the court record that indicates Linda Upton was an unfit mother -- and it's undisputed that she did the majority of the parenting in the household, while Bill Upton focused primarily on business matters. At one time, Bill Upton was a prominent figure in Birmingham's conservative religious circles, attending Briarwood Presbyterian Church and supporting the "pro life" movement. (Dr. William Flynn Walker also attended Briarwood Church.)

What kind of parent was (and is) Bill Upton? Well, he admitted in court documents to having a sexual relationship with a young woman who had called him "Daddy" for years. Aside from that, it appears Bill Upton, as a parent, is uncaring, out of touch, lacking in common sense -- or a combination of all three.

Judge Gary Pate
With nothing we can find in the record to support it, Judge Pate granted sole physical custody of the Upton's three minor children (David, Brandon, and Polly) to Bill Upton. A fourth minor child, Breelynn, is not mentioned in the final divorce judgment, but she also wound up living with Bill Upton and Gincie Walker Upton, who is Breelynn's biological mother.

Hannah Upton, probably because she was an adult, also is not mentioned in the order, but she, too, wound up living with Bill Upton. The reasons for that are unclear, although Family Court might have played a role in that determination.

The Pate order putting most of the children in Bill Upton's care is dated December 4, 2012. (See order at the end of this post.) Almost exactly two years later, Hannah Upton was dead.

Would that have happened if Hannah had continued to live with her mother, Linda Upton? Did the lawyers who pushed for the children to live with Bill Upton, and the judge (or judges) who went along with it, contribute to Hannah Upton's death? Did they pretty much cause it?

We will examine those questions in an upcoming post.


(To be continued)





13 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm speechless.

Anonymous said...

This judge should be indicted for manslaughter. I live in Mtn Brook, and I've heard a good deal about what happened with Hannah Upton. It's sickening.

Anonymous said...

What kind of people is Briarwood producing, or attracting.

S C said...


I had no idea there was a website sharekids.com (or something to that effect) where you keep your ex up-to-date with activities.

So, Bill got the kids and all the guns and ammo? Nice combination...hopefully he took the safe, too.

Pretty gross stuff that his friend Dr. Walker went to prison for sexual misdeeds involving children and Bill himself has an affair/marries his adopted (young) daughter and brings more kids into the house afterward. Seems like a Judge might question / act on the side of cautiousness/ wonder what the young kids think of their 'step-mom/sis' ?
But then again...I'm not a Judge....

Anonymous said...

Looking forward to your next segment on this. It sounds like adult screw-ups caused a young person to lose her life.

Anonymous said...

Like @11:02, I live in Mountain Brook and know the Upton family at a distance. I also know Judge Pate at a distance. I can't believe what Bill Upton has done to his family, and what Judge Pate has done to place children in a harmful environment. My understanding is that Hannah Upton died in Alaska, and I've never figured out how she was allowed to go to Alaska. The whole thing is sickening, and I'm grateful that you are exposing it.

legalschnauzer said...

Yes, @6:15, Hannah Upton died in Alaska and was allowed to go there even though she had at least two serious health conditions that needed monitoring, and she was not able to monitor them herself. I will be spelling all this out in next segment.

Anonymous said...

You will never read about this stuff in the b'ham news or see reports from abc 33/40 that's for damn sure. It is very important that the people of Alabama know what these so called civil leaders are doing and getting away with it.

Anonymous said...

Questions : Breelynn is the biological child of Gincie. Is Bill the biological father ? If so, was she fathered while Gincie was still a minor ?

Anonymous said...

Isn't there some famous quote about how it's always good to have friends in high places?

http://www.legacy.com/guestbook/DignityMemorial/guestbook.aspx?n=hannah-upton&pid=173452640

Recognize any names?

legalschnauzer said...

Yes, Judge Roy Moore makes an appearance. How interesting.

Anonymous said...



By and large the PCA is a socially conservative denomination. Disagreements over the extent to which the denomination should try to influence political and social life abound. Some leaders stress a commitment to the supremacy of the spiritual mission of the church. Others, however, support the view that, in addition to evangelism, the denomination should engage in reforming American political and social life. Some oppose political activtism, whereas others encourage it. For example, when Alabama Supreme Court Judge Roy Moore (a Baptist) covertly installed a Ten Commandments monument in the central rotunda of Alabama's state judicial building, D. James Kennedy, PCA pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Florida, provided a camera crew to record the event. Kennedy then sold videos to raise funds for Moore's legal defense. Although many PCA ministers and laypeople oppose using the pulpit for political ends, no action has been taken by the General Assembly to stop such activity.

http://www.encyclopediaofalabama.org/article/h-1626

S C said...


@4:36 a.m., i don't know how many biological children Gincie and Bill have, but Google: Gincie Walker Bill Upton Nutcracker
There's a 2010 article naming them as 'guest parents' for the Nutcracker ballet- the same year that Upton filed for divorce from his wife. Were they already out in the open? Either way, the pictures of the children actors/actresses look well into elementary-school age to me - perhaps she was a parent and Bill a grandparent? i have no idea...check it out & see what you think.