These are the rival wills at the center of a court battle for Charles Manson’s estate and his body – and DailyMailTV can reveal the two have radically different signatures.
Two wills have now been lodged in court as the ‘authentic’ wishes of the serial killer, with the second one seen for the first time Thursday after it was obtained by DailyMailTV.
It leaves everything to the cult leader’s ‘son’, Matthew Roberts, and gives him the right to arrange for Manson’s burial.
The eight-page document was signed by Manson on January 11 this year, and given to the cult leader’s friend and long time confidante Ben Gurecki. He was named executor.
The will is being lodged at Kern County Probate Court by attorney Spencer Kuvin.
The court has already received another purported will, leaving Manson memorabilia fanatic Michael Channels everything and claiming to have been signed in February 14, 2002 and obtained by TMZ.
Kuvin told DailyMail.com he is prepared to challenge the authenticity of the 2002 will in its entirety, saying its signature may not be genuine because it lacks a swastika – setting the scene for a bitter and protracted battle over Manson’s estate and possibly even his remains.
Two rival wills have been filed for the estate of Charles Manson. The new document filed by Charles Manson’s ‘son’ Matthew Roberts includes a swastika while the first will filed by Manson’s pen pal Michael Channels has a different signature. Pictured: Roberts’ will dated January 2017
Channels, a memorabilia collector, filed what he claims is Manson’s will, dated February 2002 (pictured), on Tuesday. High profile attorney Spencer Kuvin said he has serious doubts over the ‘viability’ of that will because Manson didn’t sign it properly and it’s missing a swastika
The two documents are likely to spark a bitter court battle because both wills feature two completely different signatures. Pictured: Channels (left) and Roberts (right)
He said: ‘I question very sincerely this document from the pen pal. I question the viability of the will, we need to take a long look at it.’
Kuvin says by law the new will should supersede the 15-year-old document filed by Channels.
He said: ‘If you look at it I don’t see a signature, it is something scrawled across the middle of the document that doesn’t appear to be Charlie Manson’s signature.
‘If you take a close look at the signature on the last page of Matthew’s will, that’s Charlie Manson’s signature and it’s very clear and it’s signed in his own hand, what’s more it’s signed with his mark, which sadly is the mark of the swastika.’
Several online auction sites, such as Charles Manson Autographs and Pristine Auction, claim to have documents signed by Manson, with signatures featuring swastikas.
Manson’s friend Gurecki, however, does say he recognizes Manson’s name written across the page but suggests it’s an autograph rather than a formal signature – unusual given the document was meant to be his last will and testament.
The will includes a bizarre handwritten note from Manson, saying: ‘I’m not in the best spot to rest in peace. To some people my name is Manson but I’m sad.’
But DailyMailTV can also reveal the red ‘Charles Manson Authentic’ stamp seen on the document released by TMZ last week, is in fact a memorabilia stamp used on dozens of Manson Family items Channels has sold online.
Those with knowledge of the situation believe it was Channels himself who drafted the document before convincing Manson to sign it – with the view of creating a valuable collector’s item.
A high profile attorney for Roberts said: ‘If you take a close look at the signature on the last page of Matthew’s will, that’s Charlie Manson’s signature and it’s very clear and it’s signed in his own hand, what’s more it’s signed with his mark, which sadly is the mark of the swastika’. Pictured: Roberts with the more recently dated will
But DailyMailTV can also reveal the red ‘Charles Manson Authentic’ stamp seen on the document released by TMZ last week (pictured), is in fact a memorabilia stamp used on dozens of Manson Family items Channels has sold online
Kuvin said he will also take the position that as a biological heir Roberts – real name Matthew Robert Lentz – has a stronger claim against an estate for his father Manson than a pen pal
Online auctions claim to have documents signed by Manson. Pictured a postcard from Corcoran state prison allegedly signed by Manson with a swastika
Pictured: A check Manson allegedly signed with a swastika
On the stamp issue, attorney Kuvin said: ‘Channels was probably going to use this will as some kind of memorabilia to sell.’
These points of contention will undoubtedly be raised in the ensuing court battle.
But Kuvin is confident his client Roberts has the stronger claim on Manson’s estate and will win the day.
‘As it stands now, it appears the most recent will executed by Mr Manson is the one that Matthew holds,’ he said.
‘And obviously the most recent will should control the estate, in fact the will that Matthew has, reads that it supersedes any prior wills.
‘So the one will that has been published and put in the probate file is dated 2002 while Matthew’s will is dated 2017.’
Kuvin said he will also take the position that as a biological heir Roberts – real name Matthew Robert Lentz – has a stronger claim against an estate for his father than a pen pal would.
Roberts does not have DNA proof that he is the heir, and in fact once failed a televised DNA test, but maintains that result was faulty and that a new test will prove he is Manson’s son.
The fact that Manson’s supposed grandson, MMA fighter and oil rig worker Jason Freeman has also emerged as another claimant, doesn’t worry Kuvin.
He said: ‘He’s a grandchild, he’s not a direct descendant where Matthew is and when you have a direct descendant they take priority.’
Also stepping into the fight is Manson’s long lost grandson, MMA fighter and oil rig worker Jason Freeman (left) who is trying to claim Manson’s remains, but Roberts’ lawyer isn’t worried
Channels rushed to file the Manson will in his possession on Tuesday so he could get custody of the killer’s body as soon as possible. The pair pictured together
He continued: ‘I can tell you that Matthew is very interested in being able to confirm his genetic link (to Manson) through DNA testing, so that he can prove that beyond a shadow of a doubt.
‘But as far as the courts are concerned there is a presumption based upon the fact he was acknowledged by Mr Manson in correspondence back and forth that he was in fact his child.
‘That is reconfirmed now with the will that was executed.’
Kuvin said his main priority is to make sure nothing happens to Manson’s body until the legal tussle has been resolved so the DNA testing will still be possible.
‘We’re trying to put an immediate stop to any destruction of the body and we’ve been in contact with the coroner’s office to do just that,’ he said.
Kuvin added that he will now ‘dispute’ the claim made by Channels.
And ultimately he believes there will be a final hearing at which evidence and testimony would need to be presented.
‘I don’t think there’s any question that there’s going to be a legal battle,’ he said.
‘We’re ready, we’ve got the letters, we’ve got the correspondence, we’ve got the will.
‘I think ultimately we’ll prevail because our claim is much stronger than the others, it’s as simple as that.’
Lawyers for Roberts (pictured) and Channels will battle it out over whose will has the most legitimate claim to Manson’s estate, which includes his art and rights to make money from the killer’s likeness
Channels (left) and Freeman (right) are expected to challenge the new will filed by Roberts. Freeman flew into LA on Monday before driving up to Bakersfield on Tuesday and was seen in the area filming with a documentary film crew
Channels, a well known Manson collector and historian, is a long time pen pal of the cult leader and had been communicating with him for 20 years.
He claims that in 2002 Manson drafted the will and handed it to him.
Earlier this week DailyMailTV approached Channels, 51, to ask him whether his will would win the day.
Instead, business partner and fellow Manson collector Stoner Van Houten spoke on his behalf.
Van Houten, who also runs the infamous Spahn Ranch, said: ‘When the bout happens we’ll see who’s gonna leave the ring. I understand a couple of people will enter but only one man’s gonna leave, man, and that one person’s gonna be Michael Channels my friend.’
In an exclusive interview musician Roberts, 49, who lives in Los Angeles, said he’s confident of his chances.
‘I believe this document will supersede any others, I believe that I am Charles Manson’s son and I am his rightful heir,’ he said.
While Gurecki, who has been helping Roberts, added: ‘I believe this (will) will ultimately supersede the other wills that are put there because of the date of the will, it came to me in February…so it would have to supersede the others.’
Manson was jailed after he was found guilty of orchestrating the murders of nine people, including actress Sharon Tate (pictured), in the 1960s by his devoted followers in a bid to start a race war
Roberts, who was adopted and grew up in Rockford, Illinois, was told that Manson was his real dad, after he tracked down his biological mother in 2001. She told Roberts she was raped by Manson during a drug-fueled orgy nine months before he was born in 1968 – but she later claimed it was not rape but ‘vigorous sex’
Both Roberts and Gurecki hope to give Manson a respectful burial at his family’s grave site in Catlettsburg Cemetery, Kentucky.
Roberts, who was adopted and grew up in Rockford, Illinois, was told that Manson was his real dad, after he tracked down his biological mum in 2001.
She told Roberts she was raped by Manson during a drug-fueled orgy nine months before he was born in 1968 – but she later claimed it was not rape but ‘vigorous sex’.
Although attempted, DNA tests have proved inconclusive, Gurecki has said Manson knew Roberts was his son – and even sent people to find him.
Manson orchestrated the murders of seven people in the 1960s by his devoted followers in a bid to start a race war.
On August 8, 1969, he sent Susan Atkins, Linda Kasabian, Patricia Krenwinkel and Charles ‘Tex’ Watson – to the Beverly Hills address of movie actress Sharon Tate with the instruction to kill everyone inside.
Less than 24 hours later, the followers – plus Leslie Van Houten and Steve ‘Clem’ Grogan – savagely tortured, murdered and mutilated wealthy LA couple Rosemary and Leno LaBianca.
Roberts claims that his Manson will (pictured), dated January 2017, is the rightful will