A California judge awarded custody of Charles Manson’s body to the late cult leader’s grandson Monday, ending a bizarre four-month court battle over who was the true heir to Manson’s corpse.
Manson’s remains had been on ice in Kern County, California since his death on November 16th. Following the judge’s ruling Monday, Jason Freeman, a former mixed martial arts fighter and Manson’s grandson, was ordered to take custody of Manson’s body. Freeman is the son of Charles Manson Jr., who died by suicide in 1993.
Freeman recently told Rolling Stone that he came know his grandfather over the last seven years of Manson’s life. “I’ve always known who my grandfather was, from as far back as I can remember,” he says. “It’s always been there. I’ve known all my life. I never imagined I would be on such a big stage that God built before I was born.”
Freeman, who previously said he would cremate Manson, added, “I am a grandson working to take the proper steps to show my respect to my grandfather and his true close friends. I’m not only doing this for me. It’s for everyone who stands firm in the truth of life. I’m just a tool walking this part of my journey out. It has brought a lot of hardship on my life and family at home.”
Three parties laid claim to Manson’s body following the former cult leader’s death: Freeman, Manson’s longtime friend Michael Channels and Michael Brunner, Manson Family member Mary Brunner’s son who Manson allegedly adopted as an infant. Freeman argued that since Manson and Michael Brunner’s relationship had been severed, Brunner had no claim to the remains. Brunner questioned whether Freeman was biologically related to Manson.
While Monday’s ruling decided who would receive Manson’s body, the heir to Manson’s estate remains unresolved.