A man claiming to be the grandson of the infamous United States cult leader Charles Manson has won a battle for his remains, after months of deliberation in a California court.
Kern County Superior Court Commissioner Alisa Knight awarded Freeman the body over two others who made a claim for it: Michael Brunner, who claims to be Manson's son, and Michael Channels, who claims to have the only valid will.
While the decision clears the way for Manson to be cremated or buried, the battle for the body foreshadows what lies ahead as the same competing camps wrestle for control of the estate.
Charles Manson, the cult leader who sent followers known as the "Manson Family" out to commit gruesome murders, now being held at California State Prison, Corcoran, California, U.S.is seen in this August 2017 photo released on November 16, 2017. The AP says that Channels is a "pen pal who collected and sold Manson memorabilia".
Channels also claimed to be Manson's sole beneficiary in a will filed in 2002 that disinherited the cult leader's natural born children - including Freeman's father, Charles Manson Jr. He said Channels had used his contacts with Manson to generate memorabilia to pay his mortgage while also denigrating the killer in conversations with others.
Freeman told CNN he knew he was Manson's grandson at an early age in OH but never talked about it and was discouraged from discussing it inside his family.
Knight said Brunner had shown evidence he was fathered by Manson, but he lost his right to be deemed an heir because he was adopted by his grandparents.
Although some raised questions about whether Freeman was really Mansons grandson, Knight determined he was "the surviving competent adult next of kin". Lentz claimed that Manson fathered him during a Wisconsin orgy and was named as the sole beneficiary in a 2017 will that the cult leader apparently signed.
Freeman never met his grandfather and said he regrets not making the trip.
Freeman said Manson's body will be cremated and a private service will be held, but he did give specifics.
Almost all interested parties have suggested others want to profit off Manson's death by selling photos of the corpse to tabloid publications.
Freeman had initially opened a GoFundMe page last November 23, hoping to bury Manson's body "with honor, respect & dignity he deserves".
Freeman's attorney, Dale Kiken, told the AP that he expects Manson's ashes to be disseminated over a body of water.
"From a logical standpoint, there's a great benefit to a public scattering of his ashes, not just for finality for his relatives but to everyone affected by Mr. Manson", Kiken said.