A Bradenton man, claiming to be Charles Mansonís grandson, has won the rights to his grandfatherís remains after a months-long court battle.
But Mansonís remains will not be coming to Bradenton, said Jason Freeman, 41. Instead, he will be holding a private memorial and funeral service in California, according to the Bradenton Herald.
Kern County Superior Court Commissioner Alisa Knight ruled that Freeman can retrieve Mansonís remains, which have been on ice in the Bakersfield morgue since he died in November, according to the Associated Press.
Manson died in a Bakersfield hospital while serving a life sentence for orchestrating the 1969 killings of pregnant actress Sharon Tate and eight others. He was 83.
The fight over his corpse devolved into a circus of sorts with friends filing competing wills purportedly signed by the infamous inmate while kin began to come out of the woodwork to also stake a claim to the killerís body ó as well as an estate that could include lucrative rights to songs Manson wrote, or to license his image and other material.
The three-way fight for the body was between Freeman; Michael Brunner, a man who said he was fathered by Manson; and Michael Channels, a pen pal who collected and sold Manson memorabilia and filed what he said was the cult leaderís will.
Although some raised questions about whether Freeman was really Mansonís grandson, Knight determined he was "the surviving competent adult next of kin."
Freeman has lived in Bradenton for more than two years but frequently leaves the state for his work in the gas and oil industry, he told the Herald. He is married and lives in Florida with his three children. A former professional MMA fighter, Freeman also helps operate Frontline Warrior Inc. and Lords Gym, according to his Facebook page.
Freemanís father, Charles Manson Jr., changed his name to Jay White to distance himself from the string of grisly murders his father inspired back in 1969. He was born to Mansonís first wife, Rosalie Willis. Unable to deal with the burden and impact of his infamous father, White killed himself in 1993 with a gunshot to the head.
Freeman never met his grandfather and said he regrets not making the trip. The grandson said heís been working on a documentary about Manson and that through his relationship to God, he has found forgiveness for the crimes for which the cult leader had been incarcerated.
"Not being able to sit beside my grandfather was highly frustrating, but I came to realize that I was probably the only family member ever to touch my grandfatherís heart," said Freeman in an interview with the Herald. "Before he passed, he knew that the love I carry in my heart for the Lord is the same love I have for him."
Manson actually reached out to Freeman after discovering his book Knocking Out the Devil, a book discussing the difficulties of growing up without a father. Freeman did apply for visitation rights, but Manson never formally approved the process. But the two did speak over the phone.
Information from the Associated Press and the Bradenton Herald was used in this report.