Man Claiming to be Manson Grandson Challenges Pen Pal's Will Claim

Photo: CA Department of Corrections

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - A man who says he's the grandson of Charles Manson and wants to be the permanent administrator of the infamous cult leader's estate has issued a formal legal challenge to a competitor who claims he deserves the job and has Manson's will to prove it.

Jason Freeman recently won a victory in the 2nd District Court of Appeal when a three-justice panel ruled he does not have to undergo DNA testing to prove his claimed kinship to Manson. The justices found that Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Clifford Klein erred when he signed an order in 2019 directing that the 45-year-old Freeman submit to DNA sampling.

Freeman had once told the judge that he would not voluntarily agree to DNA testing, but would obey a court order to do so. His appeal had put on hold a trial of whether he or longtime Manson pen pal Michael Channel should be the permanent administrator of the late cult leader's estate.

Channels had asked for the DNA test of Freeman. In his court papers, Channels said Manson's 2002 will, filed in Kern County in November 2017, named him as the executor of Manson's estate.

In his new court papers, Freeman, acting as his own attorney, says probate of the will should be denied because it was created “as a direct result of undue influence exercised by (Channels) over (Manson) and is not, and never was, the will of (Manson).''

Manson suffered from heart disease and other ailments before he died, according to Freeman's court papers.

“Because of his weakened condition, (Channels) ... gained his confidence and easily influenced (Manson) to leave all of his estate to (Channels),'' Freeman's court papers state.

A hearing on Freeman's will challenge is scheduled for July 13, the same day a judge is scheduled to hear a competing competition to administer the Manson estate by Nancy Claassen of Spokane, Washington, who alleges in her court papers that she and Manson had the same mother and that she therefore is his “sole heir-at-law.''

Claassen disputes Freeman's claim to be Manson's grandson.

Alan Davis, an attorney for Dale Kiken, a lawyer and current temporary special administrator of the Manson estate, previously said Klein had jurisdiction to make orders regarding Freeman, a resident of Bradenton, Florida, because Freeman voluntarily made himself a part of the California-based Manson case.

Kiken has recovered property, on behalf of Freeman, that Manson left behind in prison when he died at age 83 on Nov. 19, 2017, at Bakersfield Mercy Hospital of heart failure triggered by colon cancer. In March 2018, a Kern County commissioner ruled that Freeman was entitled to Manson's remains and that order established that Freeman was Manson's grandson, according to Davis.

In February 1986, an Ohio judge additionally found that Freeman was the son of Charles Manson Jr., also known as Charles White, who killed himself in June 1993, Davis added.

Manson and members of his outcast “family'' of followers were convicted of killing actress Sharon Tate -- who was eight months pregnant -- and six other people during a bloody rampage in the Los Angeles area in August 1969.

Prosecutors said Manson and his followers were trying to incite a race war he dubbed “Helter Skelter,'' taken from the Beatles song of the same name.

The Manson clan also stabbed to death grocery magnate Leno La Bianca and his wife Rosemary La Bianca the night after the Tate murders.

Manson was convicted of seven counts of first-degree murder and one count of conspiracy to commit murder in the deaths of Tate, the La Biancas, and four other people at the Tate residence -- coffee heiress Abigail Ann Folger, photographer Wojciech Frykowski, hairdresser Jay Sebring and Steven Earl Parent, who was shot in his car on his way to visit an acquaintance who lived in a separate rented guest house on the Tate property.

Manson and followers Charles “Tex'' Watson, Leslie Van Houten, Patricia Krenwinkel and the late Susan Atkins all were convicted and sentenced to state prisons in 1971. Manson also was convicted in December of that year of first-degree murder for the July 25, 1969, death of Gary Hinman and the August 1969 death of Donald Shea.

He and the others originally were sentenced to death, but a 1972 state Supreme Court decision caused all capital sentences in California to be commuted to life in prison. There was no life-without-parole sentence at the time.

Manson was denied parole a dozen times.

Copyright 2021, City News Service, Inc.

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