It has been three months since Charles Manson passed away, but people are still fighting over his body.
Kept on ice this whole time, a court date has been set for March 7 when, hopefully, the final decision will be made.
Then, two days after that, an LA judge will consider the issue of the estate, reports CNN.
Why the delay? Well, as it stands, at least four people are fighting to claim his body and estate. Sure, he was the leader of a deadly cult, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have
Two relatives, and two other men who insist they have the only valid Manson will, have been waging legal battles in two California counties for the right to the notorious cult leader’s body and estate.
Let’s take a quick look at who the people are vying for his body:
Jason Freeman was the first to file a claim for Manson’s body and estate. To prove they are related, he even filed birth certificates and death certificates:
According to the petition, Charles Manson was married to Freeman’s grandmother, Rosalie Willis, in 1955. The couple had a son, Charles Manson Jr., and divorced two years after he was born.
Freeman says he was 11 years old when he first learned of his infamous lineage, and that his grandmother never talked to him about his grandfather.
By that time, his father had long ago left and changed his name to Charles Jay White. Freeman says his father was haunted by his background, and that it led him to substance abuse problems. In 1993, White pulled off a highway in Colorado and shot himself in the head. Freeman is now working on a documentary about his father.
A mere 12 hours before an LA judge was to rule on which court would decide the fate of Manson’s body, Michael Brunner filed a claim: apparently, he’s the son of Mary Brunner, who was one of the first Manson followers:
He might have the best claim to Manson and his estate. Brunner’s attorney filed a petition that includes a birth certificate for Michael Manson, born to Mary Brunner and Charles Manson, on April 15, 1968 — just over a year before the murder spree.
A baptismal certificate from a church in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, where Brunner’s maternal grandparents were raising him, lists Michael Sunstone Manson as the child of Manson and Mary Brunner.
The memorabilia collector and unproven son
It wasn’t long after Manson died when the Kern County Coroner in California received two conflicting Manson wills.
The first appoints one Benjamin Gurecki as executor:
Gurecki lives in Illinois and says he’d been a friend of Manson’s for at least 20 years. The will is dated January 11, 2017 — nine months before Manson’s death.
It lists a Los Angeles man, Matthew Robert Lentz [above], as Manson’s son and only heir.
Lentz, also known as Matthew Roberts, had long wondered if he was Charles Manson’s son. Roberts told CNN in a 2012 interview that he’d been adopted as an infant, but tracked down his birth mother. She had some startling news: His father was Charles Manson.
Roberts says she told him Manson was one of four men she’d met at an orgy in San Francisco in 1967. Roberts says he reached out to Manson, who confirmed many details. However, when CNN ran a DNA test on both Roberts and Freeman, there was no match. At the time, Roberts seemed stunned. CNN unsuccessfully tried to contact Roberts for this story.
The friend and memorabilia collector
The rival will was filed by Michael Channels, a “one-time memorabilia dealer who says he struck up a friendship with Manson about 30 years ago” because he wanted to “meet the devil”.
That’s no way to treat a friend:
Channels, who lives in Southern California, says he received the document shortly after it was written on February 14, 2002. In it, Manson leaves his remains and his estate to Channels.
“I have disinherited both known sons and any unknown children in the present and in the future.” A handwritten note on the second page reads, “I am not in the best spot to rest in peace.”
The bottom is signed by two witnesses, Roger Dale Smith, (who was incarcerated with Manson and is now dead) and Michael Channels. Although it has two witness signatures, California law states that a person cannot be a witness if they have a stake in the outcome. In addition, the Channels signature is dated four days before it was reportedly typed.
At the first court hearing, Channels spoke on his own behalf — and badly. The probate judge just about begged him to get an attorney. Channels replied that he’d called 50 attorneys, and “half hung up and half laughed at me.” By the second hearing, Channels was represented by three attorneys.
Okay, enough of the crazies, what’s at stake?
Well, first there is the body, and then there is the estate.
For Manson’s possessions, of which there are probably few, the “winner” will get the rights to Manson’s image, as well as royalties to some of his songs that need to be considered.
Yes, yes, Manson was a musician – and a pretty good one at that:
Meanwhile, the Kern County Coroner just wants the whole issue dealt with as soon as possible:
A lawyer for the coroner says that the county is overwhelmed by the opioid and methamphetamine crisis and says the Manson case is consuming valuable resources.
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