Author Daniel Simone's claim that Charles Manson's much younger fiancee only wants to marry him so she can put his corpse on display and charge people to see the infamous cult leader's dead body has been widely reported in recent days.
But what has received far less attention is where Simone, author of the upcoming book The Retrial of Charles Manson, learned about Manson's fiancee's intentions.
In an interview with The Huffington Post, Simone said the information originated with Frank Reichard, an inmate who "has a cell" near Manson's at California's Corcoran State Prison.
Simone collaborated on his book with writer Heidi Jordan Ley, who Simone says communicated with Reichard via letter. In a letter that Reichard sent to Ley, which Simone provided to HuffPost, the inmate said he overheard a conversation in the prison's visiting area between Manson's fiancee, 27-year-old Afton Elaine Burton, and her alleged co-conspirator, Craig Hammond.
"He overheard them talking about their plan to find a way to get control of Manson’s body when he passes on," Simone told HuffPost. "When they could not persuade Manson to sign a legal document entitling them to his body upon his death, that’s when they hatched Plan B."
The new plan, according to Simone, was for Burton to marry Manson. Under California law, this would entitle her to take possession of his body.
"Do you know how [Hammond] made a joke about putting [Manson's] body on view and charge people to see him?" Reichard wrote in the letter to Ley. "He may sound like he was kidding, but deep down he is really thinking about it. How did I end up knowing people like that?"
Simone insists Hammond was not kidding, and changed his tone once he realized another inmate was listening.
"When Hammond realized Frank had been listening to his conversation with Burton about plotting to take possession of Manson's body, he switched to a joking mode," Simone said.
The author said Manson finally got wise to the scheme, which is why he and Burton, who received a marriage license in November, have not yet married.
Burton did not return HuffPost's request for comment, but a post on her website blames the delay of her wedding to Manson on "an unexpected interruption in logistics."
"The marriage license, filed on November 7th 2014, was active for 90 days," the statement says. "They plan on renewing the license, and things will move forward in the coming months."
According to Simone, The Retrial of Charles Manson does not include the allegation about Burton's plans for the cult leader's body. Rather, he said, the book "seriously challenges the culpability" of Manson in the notorious Manson Family murders.
Simone is still shopping for a publisher.