Manson pen pal still wants DNA test on man who says he’s killer’s grandson

Charles Manson
Charles Manson in a 1986 file photo. Two men are fighting over rights to the estate of the mass killer, who died in 2017 in prison.
(Associated Press)

A judge on Friday said the weight of legal authority appears to favor a 43-year-old Florida man who says he is Charles Manson’s grandson and, so far, has resisted voluntarily submitting to a DNA test to determine paternity.

Jason Freeman told Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Clifford Klein in December that he would not voluntarily agree to the DNA test requested by longtime Manson pen pal Michael Channels. Channels’ lawyers reiterated during a hearing Friday that they still plan to seek such an order, but the judge said he will have to be convinced that current law allows him to grant it.

Klein acknowledged that the Manson case is atypical.

“This case has unusual facts because the decedent was in prison all this time,” Klein said.


A hearing on the DNA motion is scheduled for July 17.

Meanwhile, Klein extended attorney Dale Kiken’s role as temporary special administrator over the mass killer’s estate until then.

Kiken originally was appointed to the role in August, giving him authority to protect Freeman’s interests, but the term was scheduled to expire.

Kiken is tasked with recovering property, on behalf of Freeman, that the cult leader left behind in prison when he died at age 83. Manson died Nov. 19, 2017, at Bakersfield Mercy Hospital of heart failure triggered by colon cancer that had spread to other parts of his body.


Kiken’s lawyer, Alan Davis, said after the hearing that Kiken received a handwritten inventory of items from prison employees at Corcoran State Prison, where Manson was an inmate when he died. But Davis said the documents were difficult to read and that he has yet to fully review them.

Davis said in December that Kiken had obtained boxes of Manson’s belongings from the prison.

Channels was present in court Friday, but Freeman was absent.

Freeman won a significant court victory when a Kern County commissioner ruled in March 2018 that he was entitled to Manson’s remains. Freeman and Kiken maintain that a Manson will that Channels says he possesses is a forgery. Channels said Manson’s 2002 will, filed in Kern County in November 2017, names him the executor of Manson’s estate.

A trial on the competing petitions by Kiken and Channels to be the estate’s permanent administrator has not been set.

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