At least five people are fighting over the ownership of Charles Manson’s human remains, and it's reportedly stressing out authorities. It seems as if even from the grave, Manson is continuing his legacy of creating a deranged circus.
Last month, the murderous cult leader died at the age of 83. According to a California Department of Corrections statement, Manson died of natural causes at a hospital.
Kern County lawyers filed paperwork in Los Angeles County Superior Court on Monday, looking for assistance in figuring out where Manson’s corpse should go. The coroner is afraid of releasing his body to the wrong person, the Los Angeles Times reported.
“We have the following problem we’re trying to cope with here: The Department of Corrections asked the Kern County Coroner to receive the body because we have refrigeration and they don’t,” Bryan Walters, a deputy attorney in the county counsel’s office told the Los Angeles Times. “When we received it, we thought no one would claim the body. We assumed it would be an easy matter to take care of.”
That statement proved to be false. Nothing is an easy matter when it comes to Manson.
“This is a really weird legal case,” Walters said. “We’ve had pen pals that claim they have written wills. It’s like a circus, and nothing is clear where we should hang our hat on.”
A pen pal is indeed one of the people who want his body, according to the Los Angeles Times. Another is someone who claims to be Manson’s grandson, Jason Freeman from Florida. According to the Norfolk Reflector, another is Ben Gurecki, a man from Illinois who runs a website dedicated to Manson. Gurecki and Matthew Robert Lentz, who claims to be Manson’s son, want the body so that they can bury him. Lentz has claimed that his infamous father gave him a will to his estate.
“It’s a circus. It shouldn’t even be a question. He’s got a son, his son has got the will,” Gurecki told the Norfolk Reflector. “We want to give him a proper burial.”
Attorney Alan Davis, who filed a petition on behalf of Freeman, said he is surprised there aren’t more than five fighting over Manson’s corpse.
“I’m sure there will be more. People will come out of the woodwork whenever someone famous dies,” he said.
The late Manson was the leader of the "Manson Family," a group of followers — mostly runaways and other outliers — that killed for him.
"He was the dictatorial ruler of the (Manson) family, the king, the Maharaja. And the members of the family were slavishly obedient to him," former prosecutor and author of the best-selling true crime novel about the Manson murders “Helter Skelter,” Victor Bugliosi told CNN in 2015.
On August 9, 1969, “Manson Family” murdered actress Sharon Tate, who was eight months’ pregnant, celebrity hairstylist Jay Sebring, coffee fortune heiress Abigail Folger, writer Wojciech Frykowski and Steven Parent, a friend of the family's caretaker, according to CNN. The next night, the group killed supermarket executive Leno LaBianca and his wife, Rosemary. Manson himself didn’t physically participate in the killings, but he did order them, hoping to inspire a race war. It was an idea he claimed he received from the Beatles’ song “Helter Skelter.”
During a courtroom soliloquy during his highly publicized trial in 1970, Manson said, “These children that come at you with knives, they are your children. You taught them; I didn’t teach them. I just tried to help them stand up.”
He maintained that he was innocent and that society was the one that was guilty, The Associated Press reported. During that trial, Manson showed up in court with an “X” carved in his forehead. His followers soon followed suit. Later, Manson transformed the “X” into a swastika.
Manson was found guilty of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder for the deaths of seven people. He served nine life terms and was denied parole 12 times, according to CNN.
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