The grandson of Charles Manson says he is committed to making sure his grandfather’s remains are properly handled, saying he believes he must fight to claim the notorious cult leader’s body.
“I’m just doing what’s right; I’m doing what any grandson should do, regardless of who their grandfather is,” Jason Freeman, 41, told InsideEdition.com on Tuesday.
The Florida man spoke of the difficulties of being separated from his wife and four sons while petitioning to claim the remains of his grandfather, who died on Nov. 19, 2017, but says he remains resolute in his mission.
After learning of Manson’s death, Freeman traveled to California to prove his next-of-kin status and to claim his paternal grandfather’s body. He has been traveling back and forth ever since, he said.
“Yes, it is hard, but I’m a believer in destiny and faith,” Freeman told InsideEdition.com.
Two other parties have formally stepped forward to state their claim on Manson’s body.
Memorabilia dealer and Manson penpal Michael Channels submitted an alleged will to Kern County officials in an attempt to claim the body. But authorities said it’s unclear whether Manson ever signed the document, the New York Daily News reported.
And on Friday, a man claiming to be Manson’s son sent an attorney to Los Angeles County Superior Court to ask for the rights to the convicted killer’s body.
Michael Brunner, whose birth certificate named Charles Manson as his father and Mary Brunner, an early member of Manson’s cult, as his mother, wants “a quick, dignified cremation” for Manson, his attorney, Daniel Mortensen, told the Daily News.
Freeman declined to comment on whether he has spoken with either Channels or Brunner about Manson.
Also on Friday, Judge David Cowan ruled that Los Angeles County court is not the proper venue to determine who should gain control over Manson’s remains.
The Court will remain a venue for hearings on Manson’s will and other related matters, but any petitions filed for his body should be done in Kings County, where the prison he was held in is located, or Kern County, where he died, the Mercury News reported.
Freeman was in court for the first time Friday.
“This is a trip that had to be rode out, to open other doors for the courts to make their decision,” he said. “What judge would take me serious if I never showed up for court?
“I wanted my face to be seen, I wanted my voice to be heard and not just through an attorney,” he said. “You have to be there in person.”
He said he plans to remain in California for a hearing concerning his grandfather’s remains in Kern County on Wednesday.
“I feel comfortable with the court systems being involved with all this, because they’re going to take the time and see who’s all involved, what’s all involved, and make the right decision,” Freeman said.
Freeman’s father, the late Charles Manson Jr., was the son of Manson and his first wife Rosalie Willis. Manson Jr. changed his name to Jay White after his parents divorced. He killed himself in 1993, while he was in his late 30s.
Freeman said he was always aware of who his grandfather was, and the pair connected over the phone several years ago.
“We’ve had many conversations and we had the opportunity to create the best bond we could for the situation he was in and I was in,” Freeman said.
He said Manson asked him to move to California to be closer to him about two and a half years ago, but he and his family had only recently relocated to Florida and it was not possible.
“That’s hard for me to swallow,” Freeman said.
He has since connected with people close to his grandfather, he continued.
“I know my grandfather had a real close inner circle, I’m in touch with them,” he said. “Like I tell them also, I know I’m here because this is where God’s put me. This is where I’m supposed to be.”
Freeman hopes to cremate Manson and scatter his ashes in a private ceremony.
“The stage the Lord placed under my feet when I was born, I never knew it would [have] brought me to the place I am today,” Freeman said. “Others challenging me for the rights I was born with.”