A Kern County court commissioner has ordered the body of notorious cult leader Charles Manson to be given to his grandson, Jason Freeman, who will decide how to dispose of the remains.
Commissioner Alisa R. Knight in her ruling Monday wrote, "Freeman is hereby determined to be the surviving competent adult next of kin of the decedent. No sufficient probative evidence was provided to this court to refute Freeman's claim."
Freeman is also responsible for the costs of burial and funeral expenses.
Although he never met Manson in person, Freeman has said he corresponded with him over the past eight years and got to know him as a "kind, giving person." He said he wanted to fulfill his duty as a grandchild and make sure his grandfather's remains are disposed of properly.
The legal battle over Manson's remains has involved three parties — including two alleged relatives — who sought to claim the body. An alleged son, Michael Brunner, and a pen pal, Michael Channels, both argued they should receive the body.
Brunner provided the court copies of a birth certificate and baptismal certificate, according to the ruling, but Freeman argued the birth certificate didn't "effectively identify Brunner as (Manson's) son because his middle initial is omitted and the father's middle name is spelled 'Willes' instead of 'Milles.'"
Manson's full name was Charles Milles Manson.
Freeman also alleged Brunner was adopted by his grandparents, effectively ending his claim as an adult son of Manson. Brunner's attorney, Daniel Mortensen, on March 7 acknowledged Brunner was adopted without Manson's consent.
The will filed by Michael Channels with the Kern County Superior Court, Knight's ruling said, left all of Manson's estate, including his remains, with Channels.
Knight noted parts of the will provided by Channels are illegible, and there's some ambiguity regarding Manson's intent.
Manson had been housed in the Protective Housing Unit at California State Prison-Corcoran since 1989, where inmates who would be at risk among the general population are kept.
He was hospitalized in Bakersfield at least twice last year, once in January and then again shortly before his death Nov. 19 at the age of 83. He's been in the custody of the Kern County coroner's office since then as the legal wrangling continued.
Manson had been serving life without parole at Corcoran State for leading his followers in a killing spree over two nights in 1969.
They killed pregnant actress Sharon Tate and four others at Tate's home on Aug. 9, 1969. Grocers Leno and Rosemary LaBianca were killed the following evening.