The grandson of cult leader Charles Manson has revealed his plans to cremate the remains of his notorious grandfather and then scatter the ashes in an undisclosed location.
A court official ruled Monday that Manson’s grandson, Jason Freeman, can retrieve the remains of Manson that have been on ice in the Bakersfield, California morgue since he died in November.
Kern County Superior Court Commissioner Alisa Knight ruled that Freeman’s claim beat out two others from Manson’s alleged son and a pen pal of the notorious killer.
Jason Freeman, Charles Manson’s purported grandson, won a California court battle to retrieve his remains on Monday (file photo)
Manson, who died at 83, had been hospitalized in Bakersfield while serving a life sentence for orchestrating the 1969 killings of pregnant actress Sharon Tate and eight others
Manson, who died at 83, had been hospitalized in Bakersfield while serving a life sentence for orchestrating the 1969 killings of pregnant actress Sharon Tate and eight others.
‘If he wasn’t family, trust me I wouldn’t be there,’ Freeman told FOX 13, the day after the ruling.
Freeman, who doesn’t make any excuses for Manson, admitted that he knows ‘society is looking at me going, “What the heck is this kid thinking?”‘
Freeman said that he wants to cremate Manson’s remains and then scatter his ashes at an undisclosed location so that he can close the chapter on a story that he says has haunted his family for decades.
The resident of Bradenton, Florida, said that he will not be bringing Manson’s remains back to Florida.
Freeman told FOX 13 that he volunteers at a youth ministry, working with troubled teens, and hopes to curtail future generations from going down the same path that his grandfather did.
Following Manson’s death in November, the fight over his corpse devolved into a circus of sorts with friends filing competing wills purportedly signed by the infamous inmate while kin began to come out of the woodwork to also stake a claim to the killer’s body and an estate that could include lucrative rights to songs Manson wrote or to license his image and other material.
The case in Kern County was brought by the coroner’s office, which said it wanted to quickly resolve the matter because bodies were piling up at the morgue from the methamphetamine and opioid epidemics.
To prevent photos of the body from being leaked, the coroner’s office stored Manson’s remains under a pseudonym and only two employees were told its true identity, Walters said.
The three-way fight for the body included Freeman, a man who said he was fathered by Manson, and a pen pal who was friends with Manson and claimed to have filed what he said was the cult leader’s will.
The three men all tried to cast doubt on the authenticity of the competing claims and Freeman largely won out because of problems with the other petitions.
Manson pen pal Michael Channels had also sought to claim Manson’s body (file photo)
Michael Brunner, 49, whose birth certificate lists Manson and cult member Mary Brunner as his parents, was also in the fight. Born Valentine Manson in 1968, he has stayed out of the public eye after giving the above 1993 interview about his infamous father
Knight cited problems with the will submitted by buddy Michael Channels because he was one of the two witnesses while also the sole beneficiary, which is suspect.
It was also ambiguous about what would be done with Manson’s body other than for Channels to use his judgment.
Brunner’s mother was an early member of the so-called Manson family and he was fathered by the cult leader, according to his birth certificate, though it misspelled Manson’s middle name.
Knight said Brunner had shown evidence he was fathered by Manson, but he lost his right to be deemed an heir because he was adopted by his grandparents.
Freeman, a former professional mixed martial arts fighter from Florida, is the son of the late Charles Manson Jr., who was the child of Manson and his first wife.
Although some raised question about whether Freeman was really Manson’s grandson, Knight determined he was ‘the surviving competent adult next of kin.’
Purported Manson daughter Rebecca Evans, 48, and son Matthew Roberts, 49, are also in the legal fight over Manson’s estate
Channels befriended Manson by writing him letters in prison and he later became a regular visitor and avid collector and trader of memorabilia given to him by Manson. The 2002 will he filed names him as the executor and sole beneficiary of the estate.
Another purported son, Matthew Lentz, who claims he was fathered by Manson during a Wisconsin orgy, supported Brunner’s petition. He is named as the sole beneficiary in a 2017 will that Manson apparently signed and sent to Ben Gurecki, another friend and memorabilia collector, who is named as executor.
Knight noted that the will did not appear to be properly executed and that Lentz forfeited his claims as an heir because he was also adopted.
Most of the people vying for the body have said they would cremate it, though Freeman and Channels balked at that suggestion when Deputy Kern County Counsel Bryan Walters suggested having the coroner cremate the body and allowing the parties to continue their court fight over the ashes.
Some adversaries have suggested others want to profit off the death by selling morbid photos of the corpse to tabloid publications.
In the estate battle, purported Manson daughter Rebecca Evans, 48, and son Matthew Roberts, 49, have also filed claims.
Who inherits Manson’s estate – which could include potentially lucrative rights to the use of his image and songs he wrote, as well as his possessions – will be adjudicated by Los Angeles Superior Court.