Probate courts encounter all kinds of odd scenarios, but after one hearing in a Los Angeles courtroom, this estate battle has taken a different kind of twist.
The judge explained that dispensing with his property and his remains were two different legal decisions, reports The Los Angeles Times in the article “Bizarre legal battle over Charles Manson's body and estate begins in L.A. court.”
Both the pen pal and Manson’s grandson are required to file paperwork on why they should receive Manson’s body and where (which county) they believe that decision should be made. Attorneys for Kern County — where Manson died in November—are eager to hear the court’s decision, because they’re the ones keeping Manson’s body on ice.
The judge’s order creates another delay in the conclusion of the Manson saga. The attorney for Manson’s grandson, Jason Freeman, has only a few days to file a claim for Manson’s remains, as well as to provide arguments on the proper court venue. Michael Channels—Manson’s pen pal for 30 years who claims to have a last will and testament from the killer—must also respond to the judge.
Kern County questioned this because Manson lived in Los Angeles County before he was arrested and in Kings County when he was in prison. State law says those decisions are made in the county where the decedent “domiciled,” or lived. County officials aren’t sure if that means before he was in prison or after.
Channels claims Manson sent him a last will and testament awarding him everything about 15 years ago. Channels operates a website hosting the killer’s photos, writings and stories.
Manson was the orchestrator of the gory killing spree in Los Angeles in 1969. Among the dead was pregnant actress Sharon Tate, wife of movie director Roman Polanski. The sensational killings terrified and fascinated the country.
Manson’s grandson said that if he received the remains, he would cremate them and spread them secretly to prevent the location from becoming a morbid tourist destination. Channels said he would do likewise and had no plans for the killer’s remaining property.
The battle may become even more convoluted, since two more people may become involved. One, a man from Santa Monica, says he is in possession of another final will and testament from Manson. His colleague claims to be Manson’s biological son. Neither have filed court documents as of this report.
Reference: Los Angeles Times (January 8, 2018) “Bizarre legal battle over Charles Manson's body and estate begins in L.A. court”