Charles Manson’s remains will go to his surviving grandson, court rules

Charles Manson’s remains were awarded to the cult leader’s grandson Jason Freeman.
(Los Angeles Times / California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation)

The remains of cult leader Charles Manson were awarded to his grandson from Florida, court records show.

Kern County Superior Court Commissioner Alisa R. Knight authorized coroner’s officials to release Manson’s remains to Jason Freeman, according to the ruling issued Monday.

“The court orders that disposition of the remains are to be determined by Freeman … who will also be responsible for the costs of burial and funeral expenses,” the ruling said.

Manson was the mastermind of the gory rampage that claimed the life of pregnant actress Sharon Tate and six others during two August nights in Los Angeles in 1969. The problematic prisoner with a swastika carved into his forehead generated a cult following during four decades of imprisonment.


“We are delighted that the judge found in our favor,” said attorney Alan Davis, who represented Freeman. He said his client plans on cremating Manson’s remains and then spreading them privately.

Three people claimed to be the rightful heir to Manson’s estate: Freeman; Michael Brunner, who contends he is Manson’s last surviving son; and Michael Channels, his longtime pen pal from Newhall.

All three were fighting in court over Manson’s body — which has been in storage with the Kern County coroner since he died at 83 in a Bakersfield hospital Nov. 19.

According to an attorney representing the Kern County coroner, Manson told guards at Corcoran prison that he had no surviving children and did not have a will.

Channels, who said he had a will from Manson bequeathing everything to him, said on Facebook that he would respect the commissioner’s decision.

“I am not sad, I am not mad, I am at peace. I fought for the wishes of a guy who only I knew what his wishes were anyway,” Channels wrote. “I would like to think I would have still fought as hard even if that dude would have only been John Doe or even you, my friend. I am not as baffled in the decision of the California Court as some are, I guess because I live here and not a lot makes any sense here anyway.”

With Monday’s order, the saga over Manson’s death is half over. The same parties who were vying for his remains are also battling it out in a downtown Los Angeles courtroom for his estate and are due back in court Friday for the next hearing.

An attorney for Brunner did not respond to a request for comment.

Twitter: @AleneTchek


2:45 p.m.: This article was updated with a comment from Jason Freeman’s attorney.

March 13, 1:55 p.m.: This article was updated with comments from Michael Channels.

This article was originally published March 12 at 6 p.m.