With one filing papers to drop his claims and the other showing up after a hearing, it’s possible that both sons will be out of the picture, and only two will be left to battle it out in court.
Showing up disheveled and frazzled and after the court hearing concluded in the probate case of the mass murderer, Matthew Lentz may be out of luck. Lentz, who claims to be Manson’s son, arrived late, with a plastic case stuffed with letters from Manson that he hoped would convince the court.
Another supposed son, Michael Brunner, has filed a motion to drop his claims as an alleged heir to the convicted murderer. WPXI News reports in the recent article, “Purported sons could be out of Charles Manson estate fight,” that if the two men drop out, it would leave a purported grandson to fight Manson’s pen pal, who filed a will that names him as sole beneficiary to the potentially lucrative estate.
This leaves at least three individuals who claim a relationship to Manson, along with two so-called “murderabilia” collectors, who befriended the criminal and who have emerged in the court battle. The 83-year-old Manson died in a hospital last November, while serving a life sentence for masterminding the 1969 killings of pregnant actress Sharon Tate and eight others in a Los Angeles Hills mansion.
Lentz is listed as sole beneficiary in a 2017 will that names memorabilia collector Ben Gurecki as executor. Lentz said he’s seeking the rights to a song Manson said he wrote for him. However, the judge said Lentz had until a July 13 hearing to show why he shouldn't be dismissed from the case.
Brunner's mother was a former Manson family member, and he’s widely believed to be Manson's son. Mary Brunner was in jail on credit card fraud case in August 1969, when Manson instructed his followers to carry out killings that he hoped would create a race war. Michael Brunner was one of those who also fought in court over the right to collect the body of Manson for burial.
However, Manson’s remains were granted to Jason Freeman, a purported grandson from Florida. He had the remains cremated and scattered the ashes after a brief private funeral in March. Brunner lost because he surrendered his right to be deemed an heir, when he was adopted by his maternal grandparents, a judge ruled. His quest for the estate is likely to meet a similar end. Lentz has the same problem. Unlike Brunner, he doesn't have a birth certificate naming Manson as his father. However, he was also adopted and later pieced his paternity together after tracking down his biological mother.
A prison pen pal of Manson’s, Michael Channels, is fighting for the estate and filed a will that names him as the executor. The court says that the will he filed presents a possible conflict of interest, since he is also named as one of two witnesses and the only beneficiary. That same court had previously ruled against him in the battle over who would control Manson’s remains.
Reference: WPXI News (May 8, 2018) “Purported sons could be out of Charles Manson estate fight”