Charles Manson’s Corpse Rots in State During Legal Battle

A son, a grandson and a collector yell Habeas Corpus in legal battle over Charles Manson’s body.

Charles Manson is a hot ticket item on the slab in a California morgue as three bidders put in a claim over his corpse. The legal battle over the cult leader’s remains is playing out in court, according to the Associated Press. On Friday, a judge ruled that Manson’s estate should be litigated in Los Angeles because that is where Manson lived when he was convicted of the 1969 murders of actress Sharon Tate and eight others. The judge rejected hearing the case because Manson died in Kern County and spent his last years in state prison in Kings County. Manson’s corpse will remain on ice for at least another month before claimants can argue in court over who gets his remains.

Among the people who filed claims are Manson’s last known surviving son, Michael Brunner, his grandson, Jason Freeman, who proposed burial at sea, and a pen pal who collected and sold memorabilia. A representative for Manson’s alleged son Matthew Lentz, who claims he was fathered during an orgy in Wisconsin, has yet to file court papers. According to published reports, Manson signed a will leaving everything to Lentz, that was filed with the Kern County coroner.

Daniel Mortensen, the attorney for Brunner, argued that his client wants the body cremated so he can scatter them at an undisclosed location in California. The pen pal, Michael Channels, filed a will in Kern County in 2002 that names him as executor and heir. The will disinherits Manson’s natural born children. Attorneys for Freeman, Brunner and Kern County have all questioned the validity of the two wills.

Freeman says he never met his grandfather in person, but corresponded with him over the past eight years and found him to be a “kind, giving person.”

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Manson died Nov. 19 in a Bakersfield hospital at the age of 83.

A follow-up hearing is scheduled for March 7.