A California judge has ruled that Charles Manson's body will go to his grandson, Jason Freeman, after a months-long battle over who has the right to the former cult leader's remains, Washington Post reports.
Kern County Court Commissioner Alisa R. Knight named the 41-year-old Freeman to be "the surviving competent adult next of kin" for Manson in her Monday ruling, beating out a crowd of other people vying for control of the body, including another alleged relative, Michael Brunner—the son of Manson Family member Mary Brunner—and Michael Channels, a long-time Manson pen pal who claimed to have a 2002 will that named him sole beneficiary.
The will was dismissed due to lack of witnesses and Brunner had been adopted as a child, forfeiting his right to be Manson's heir, so the right to the body fell to Freeman.
Freeman reportedly never met Manson in person, though he found the convicted murderer to be a "kind, giving person" in the pair's long-distance correspondence over the years. He can now pick up his grandfather's remains from a California morgue, where it has been hidden under a fake name since last November, and will be "responsible for the costs of burial and funeral expenses," according to the ruling.
"I've always known who my grandfather was, from as far back as I can remember," Freeman told Rolling Stone in an interview earlier this month. "I am a grandson working to take the proper steps to show my respect to my grandfather and his true close friends."
The battle over control of Manson's corpse began long before he died last year. Back in 2015, Manson almost married a 27-year-old groupie nicknamed Star until she was revealed to just want him for his body, his dead body, so she could turn it into a tourist attraction after he died. Freeman, on the other hand, has said that he plans to cremate Manson's corpse—though he reportedly played with a Manson puppet and joked about stuffing it with his grandfather's ashes in a recent Facebook Live video, according to the Daily Beast, which doesn't seem much better than Star's Lenin-style tomb.
"They have a puppet that looks like Charlie that they’re going to put his ashes in. What is it, do they want to make Chucky Part 4 and sell him off?” Channels, Manson's pen pal, told the Daily Beast last week. "That’s what [Manson] didn’t want. That’s the only thing I'm trying to stop."
Nevertheless, Freeman has now gained custody of Manson's body, and what comes next is up to him. "All I wanted to do was take the dude’s ashes and dump them in the desert where he wanted," Channels said to AP after learning of the court's decision.
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