The spooky battle over the body of Charles Manson has finally reached its denouement, with a judge ruling Monday that Manson’s grandson, Jason Freeman, will be the lucky winner.
Manson died on November 19th after more than 40 years behind bars, but in all that time it was never agreed upon who would win the rights to his corpse once he finally kicked the bucket. If you thought he’d be quietly cremated and deposited in a dumpster behind a seafood restaurant like he probably deserved, well, you were wrong. It turns out an entire gaggle of people were after the cult leader’s ice-packed remains, including Freeman, longtime pen pal Michael Channels, a musician named Matt Lentz who claims to be his son, and another dude named Michael Brunner who also claims to be his son.
Why is this happening? From NBC:
Lentz claimed that Manson fathered him during a Wisconsin orgy and was named as his sole beneficiary in a 2017 will that Manson purportedly signed.
Channels also claimed to be Manson’s sole beneficiary in a will filed in 2002 that disinherited the cult leader’s natural born children — including Freeman’s father, Charles Manson Jr.
Kern County Superior Court Judge Alisa Knight rejected all three claims. In Lentz’s case, he failed to provide proof of his relationship with Manson, in addition to the fact that he was adopted at one week old, which meant he “forfeited” his rights to Manson’s body. Same goes for Brunner, who was adopted by his maternal grandparents and therefore no longer Manson’s son. Channels, for his part, submitted an invalid claim, in part because the witness signature was dated four days before the will was executed.
Freeman’s plans for disposing of Manson consist of cremating him, as well as holding a “small family ceremony.” He also intends to extend an invitation to Brunner and Channels on the basis that he “wouldn’t want them to miss out,” which makes it sound more like he’s planning an outing to the Monster Truck World Finals than holding a memorial service, but to each his own.
Still up for grabs, however, are Manson’s writings, drawings, and music compositions, ensuring that various other battles over his property will be waged for many more decades to come.