LOS ANGELES — The fight for the corpse of Charles Manson, who died in Bakersfield, was thrown out of a Los Angeles court Friday, as another potential heir stepped into the case and the grandson of the cult leader made a passionate plea to the judge.
In a hearing to determine the venue for legal battles over Manson's estate and the disposition of his remains, Jason Freeman, whose father was born by Manson's first wife, echoed the frustration of several parties who have been trying to get control of the notorious criminal's body since he died in November at Bakersfield's Mercy Hospital.
"'My grandfather has been on ice over 60 days," Freeman emotionally blurted out.
Judge David Cowan divided the two dueling Manson cases, deciding that litigation over the estate should remain in Los Angeles because that's where Manson lived when he was convicted in the murders of pregnant actress Sharon Tate and eight others.
Cowan said the case over the remains, however, belongs in either in Kings County, where the cult leader was imprisoned or Kern County, where he died in Bakersfield Nov. 19. A hearing is already scheduled for Wednesday in Bakersfield and the Kern County coroner, which has the body, requested the case be kept there.
So far, three parties have staked claims in court to collect Manson's body from the morgue and take control of any assets, which could include potentially lucrative rights to the use of his image and songs he wrote and any other property.
Freeman is being challenged by Manson's longtime pen pal, Michael Channels, who holds a will that he claims is valid. A lawyer for a purported son of Charles Manson also appeared in court Friday for the first time and said he would be representing Michael Brunner, whose mother was a member of the infamous "Manson family" cult.
Representatives for another alleged son, Matthew Lentz, who claims he was fathered by Manson during a Wisconsin orgy, have said he would appear in court, but he's been a no-show at two hearings and has yet to file court papers. However, a will purportedly signed by Manson and naming Lentz as sole beneficiary has been filed with the Kern County coroner.