Bizarre battle over body of Charles Manson won by grandson

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A grandson of cult leader Charles Manson won the bizarre California court battle today over the killer's body.

Kern County Superior Court Commissioner Alisa Knight ruled that Jason Freeman can retrieve the remains of Manson that have been on ice in the Bakersfield morgue since he died in November.

Manson, 83, had been hospitalized in Bakersfield while serving a life sentence for orchestrating the 1969 killings of pregnant actress Sharon Tate and eight others.

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 killer's body and an estate that could include lucrative rights to songs Manson wrote or to license his image and other material.

While the decision clears the way for Manson to be cremated or buried, the battle for the body foreshadows what lies ahead as competing camps wrestle for control of the estate.

The case in Kern County was brought by the coroner's office, which said it wanted to quickly resolve the matter because bodies were piling up at the morgue from the methamphetamine and opioid epidemics.

The three-way fight for the body included Freeman, a man who said he was fathered by Manson, and a pen pal, Michael Channels of California, formerly of Wellsville in Columbiana County, who was friends with Manson and has filed what he said was the cult leader's will.

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