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Newstalk

12.56 26 Jan 2018


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A legal battle over serial killer Charles Manson's remains and estate is due to take place in a Los Angeles court.

At least three parties have staked claims to collect Manson's body from the Kern County morgue two months after he died aged 83 and take control of any assets.

These could include potentially lucrative rights to the use of his image, songs he wrote and any other property.

Ben Gurecki, one of two pen pals who hold wills allegedly signed by Manson, said: "It's a circus show. It's despicable that I'm still sitting here 60 days later and I can't get my friend cremated."

Legal battle

A Superior Court judge has to decide which court takes up the separate issues of Manson's remains and his estate.

A Florida man, Jason Freeman, claims he is a grandson of the killer and is entitled to the remains and estate.

But Mr Freeman is being challenged in Los Angeles by Michael Channels, another pen pal and collector of Manson memorabilia, who holds a will allegedly signed by Manson and names him as executor and sole beneficiary.

Mr Gurecki has made the third claim, filing a will with the Kern County coroner's office purportedly bearing Manson's signature.

The will is said to name him as executor and leaves everything to his "one living child," Matthew Lentz, a Los Angeles musician.

Mr Channels originally tried to file the will in Kern County, but it was rejected so he filed it in Kings County, where Manson was behind bars for years.

Mr Freeman wants the estate litigated in Los Angeles where Manson lived before his convictions in the 1969 killing of pregnant actress Sharon Tate and eight other people.

Profit

The legal fight has sparked acrimony with Mr Channels accusing Mr Lentz of being a fraud and claiming that Mr Gurecki forged Manson's signature on the will he allegedly received by post in January 2017.

Mr Gurecki said the will that Mr Channels holds was written by Mr Channels and given to Manson to autograph during a prison visit.

Mike Smith, a spokesman for Mr Lentz, said he fears Mr Channels and Mr Freeman plan to profit from Manson's by possibly selling photos of the body to a tabloid newspaper.

Manson, who was behind a string of killings that shocked America, died on November 19th after more than four decades behind bars.


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