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Two of Charles Manson's self-proclaimed sons lose claims to his estate; court battle continues between grandson and pen pal

Matthew Lentz and Michael Brunner were two of the four people who were all fighting over the remains of the cult leader Charles Manson as well as his estate
UPDATED MAR 13, 2020
 Sharon Tate and Roman Polanski (Source:Getty Images)
Sharon Tate and Roman Polanski (Source:Getty Images)

A judge in a Los Angeles court ruled on July 13 that two of the supposed sons of Charles Manson will be eliminated from the inheritance battle that is taking place over his estate. Matthew Lentz, who is a musician and who claims to have been conceived by the infamous cult leader at an orgy in 1967, and Michael Brunner, whose mother was a member of "The Family", were only two of the four people who were fighting over the remains of the cult leader as well as his estate.

Judge Clifford Klein eliminated the two men because they did not have enough proof that they were actually the rightful heirs to the memorabilia or Manson's image and publishing rights. Manson died in prison in November 2017 while he was serving out his life sentence for masterminding the murders of pregnant actress Sharon Tate and eight other people in 1963.

The wedding of Polish film director Roman Polanski and actress Sharon Tate (1943 - 1969) (right). Tate was subsequently murdered by members of Charles Manson's pseudo-religious sect The Family. (Getty Images)

The battle still continues between Jason Freeman, the legitimate and agreed upon grandson whose father is Charles Manson Jr. Manson Jr. killed himself in 1993. The fourth and last person involved is Michael Channels, a memorabilia collector and one of Manson's pen pals who was allegedly named as the sole beneficiary of all of the cult leader's rights and possessions back in 2017, the Daily Mail reported.

Lentz has said earlier that he was the infamous cult leader's son. He had also said that they two of them had communicated with each other while Manson was in jail. Lentz then went on to allege that he had been put up for adoption when he was a baby but that he was actually a relative of Manson.

Michael Brunner has also said that Manson was his father. Mary Brunner, his mother and a woman who was a part of the cult, was in jail at the time the Tate murders happened in 1963. Jason Freeman came forward publically in 2012 and said he was Manson's grandson. He also said that he did not know his grandfather during his childhood and that he was not able to talk about the subject.

Freeman's father had shot himself in the head after he changed his name. He did not want his infamous father's heinous crimes to follow him as well. Manson's wealth at the time of his death is still a mystery. Over the course of his lifetime, Charles Manson had developed a sort of cult of personality and had drawn a bizarre following who considered him akin to a prophet.

His death on November 19, 2017, inside the California State Prison in Corcoran – where he was serving a life sentence for masterminding a series of nine murders with his quasi-commune, the Manson family – will have been mourned by few, but it did spark a peculiar battle of sorts: one for his body.

It was a three-way claim. On one side was Jason Freeman, a Florida man who claims to have been Manson's grandson. On the second was Michael Brunner, who said he was fathered by the cult leader before he was convicted of the murders of a heavily pregnant Sharon Tate and eight others. The last one was an unassuming pen pal, Michael Channels, who had made a hobby out of collecting Manson memorabilia and who claimed he had the only valid will. What better to top off the collection than to acquire the body of Manson himself? 

According to CNN, Kern County Superior Court Commissioner Alisa Knight ruled that Freeman could collect the remains of Manson from the morgue in Bakersfield.

Manson's body has been kept on ice since his passing at the Bakersfield Hospital a few months ago at the age of 83.

In the end, Freeman won the case because of a few technicalities. Knight ruled that the 2002 will that Channels submitted was not valid because the witness signature was dated four days before the will was executed. She added that, had the will been found valid, it still had no specific details on how to dispose of the remains.

The court also ruled that Brunner was no longer Manson's grandson because he had been adopted by his maternal grandparents. An attorney for the coroner's office said that he would alert the coroner to the ruling but added there was still a possibility that one of the plaintiffs could file a motion that could delay the process.

American actress Sharon Tate (1943 - 1969), second wife of film director Roman Polanski, in London (Getty Images)

Freeman seemed relieved but joyous at the decision going his way, telling CNN: "I can finally say this part is over. I never looked at it as being a battle between anybody. This is unreal – this is something I actually played out in my mind ever since I was a kid." He says he now plans on cremating his grandfather's remains and holding a small family ceremony. He also said that he wanted to invite both Brunner and Channels to Manson's funeral because he did not want them to miss out.