Man Claiming to be Manson's Son Drops Bid to Administer Killer's Estate

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - A man who says he is Charles Manson's son is seeking dismissal of his bid to administer the mass killer's estate, leaving three other men competing for the appointment, which came as surprising news today to at least one lawyer involved in the case.

Michael Brunner's court papers do not state why he wants to drop his petition, but the documents explain he is doing so ``without prejudice,'' meaning he could renew his effort again in the future.

At a hearing this morning, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Clifford Klein set a July 13 hearing on whether to grant Brunner's request for dismissal.

Klein also said that Manson pen pal Michael Channels still needs to take some steps between now and the July hearing in order have his case heard.

Another claimant, Matt Lentz, also claims Manson is his father. He did not show up for Tuesday's hearing and the fate of his case also will be determined on the July date.

The fourth and final claimant, Jason Freeman, maintains he is Manson's grandson. Lawyer Dale Kiken has filed court papers seeking to administer Manson's estate on Freeman's behalf.

Kiken's lawyer, Alan Davis, said after this morning's hearing that he was surprised by Brunner's withdrawal and had no explanation for it.

Freeman won a significant court victory when a Kern County commissioner ruled in March that he was entitled to Manson's remains. The same day, Kiken filed court papers stating that any relationship Brunner may hav had with Manson was severed when he was adopted.

``Brunner is not an heir of the decedent's ... estate and has no standing herein,'' according to Kiken's court papers, which state that Manson told third parties before he died that Brunner was not his ``biological child.''

``Brunner has never sought to determine his biological paternity although he has had decades to do so,'' Kiken's petition states.

Brunner has said in media interviews that he feels he has ``no connection'' to Manson and that he resisted any contact with him, according to Kiken's petition.

Like Freeman, Kiken maintains that a 2002 Manson will that Channels alleges he possesses is a forgery.

Channels said Manson's 2002 will, filed in Kern County last November, names him the executor of Manson's estate and gives him control of what to do with the convicted killer's remains. Klein denied a request from Channels' lawyer, David Baldwin, to have the original will transferred from Kern County to Los Angeles County so it could be examined by handwriting experts from the competing parties.

Klein said Baldwin should instead require a certified copy from Kern County.

Kiken maintains' Channels' alleged will does not ``contain the affirming signature'' of Manson.

``If ever executed, the 2002 will was revoked,'' according to Kiken's court papers.

Manson, who spent nearly 50 years behind bars and was denied parole a dozen times, died Nov. 19 at age 83 at Bakersfield Mercy Hospital of heart failure triggered by colon cancer that had spread to other areas of his body.

Photo: Getty Images

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