A Los Angeles Superior Court judge on Monday is set to begin trying to sort out tangled claims over who gets the remains and belongings of notorious killer Charles Manson.
The victor will lay claim to thousands of dollars worth of Manson “murderabilia” and songs the killer wrote that have been performed by the Beach Boys and Guns ’N Roses. The heir also will gain potentially lucrative rights to Mason’s writings and images.
Manson, 83, died in November in a hospital near Corcoran State Prison in California, 48 years after orchestrating nine grisly murders by his cult followers in the Los Angeles Hills, including the slaying of of movie director Roman Polanski’s pregnant wife, Sharon Tate.
A pen pal and men alleging they are Manson’s son and grandson are claiming to be his heir, The Associated Press reports, even though California prison officials said Manson indicated he had no heirs and no will.
Matt Lentz, of Van Nuys in Southern California — who was adopted by an Illinois couple as a newborn — claims he’s Manson’s son and plans to file a will on Monday that he says Manson signed in 2017. It names him as heir, and memorabilia collector Ben Gurecki as executor. Gurecki told the Los Angeles Times in December that he and Lentz “want to give him a proper burial. It’s a circus,” he said.
A man from Wisconsin also says he’s Manson’s son, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Meanwhile, Jason Freeman of Florida claims to be Manson’s closest relative and rightful heir. He has filed court documents saying he is the son of Charles Manson Jr., who committed suicide in 1993, and is the grandson of Charles Manson and first wife, Rosalie Willis. He’s asking the court to administer Manson’s estate on his behalf, NBC News reports. Freeman told The New York Times he also wants to give Manson a “proper burial.”
Lentz is seeking a DNA test of Manson’s body, which is still being held by a coroner.
Another reputed son of Manson is making no claim on the estate.
A second purported will — this one from 2002 — has already been filed by Manson pen pal Michael Channels, who runs an “online museum” featuring Manson.
Manson was believed to have had music, art, writings and at least two guitars when he died, Time reported.
It’s possible any income from Manson’s estate could go to victims or their heirs. A court ordered that royalties from a Guns N’ Roses 1993 recording of the Manson song “Look at Your Game, Girl” be paid to the son of one of Manson’s victims.
In 1968, the Beach Boys recorded “Never Learn Not To Love,” a version of a Manson song. It’s not known what happened to those royalties.
Beach Boy Mike Love said in a 2016 book that bandmate Dennis Wilson once told him that he saw Manson fatally shoot a man at Manson’s commune. Wilson and Manson had become friends while working in the Los Angeles music scene, and often hung out together.
“I just saw Charlie take his M16 and blow this black cat in half and stuff him down the well,” Love recounted in his memoir Good Vibrations. Wilson was too frightened by what he had seen to report it to police, according to Love.