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MMA veteran fighting for control of Charles Manson’s estate

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Jason Freeman, Charles Manson’s grandson, is attempting to acquire the name and image rights of the deceased cult leader.

2017 Los Angeles Times Photo by John Malmin/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

According to Australia’s news.com.au Jason Freeman, a former professional mixed martial artist, is one of the competing parties attempting to seize control of the late Charles Manson’s estate.

Freeman, who fought with the nickname ‘Charlie Manson III’, has court records to back-up his claim as being Manson’s grandson. The documents show that Freeman is the son of the late Charles Manson Jr. and that Manson Jr. was the son of Manson and his first wife Rosalie Willis.

Freeman, who is 41 years old, last fought in 2011 at Strikeforce: Feijao vs. Henderson. At that event he defeated Jason Riley by submission (punches). That win took Freeman’s record to 6-4 (1 NC). Freeman also fought in the King Of The Cage and North American Allied Fight Series promotions.

Charles Manson died on November 19th, 2017. He is remembered as the head of the cult known as The Manson Family, which killed at least 9 people in the 1960s. Among the victims of The Manson Family was Hollywood actress Sharon Tate, who was killed in the home she shared with her husband Roman Polanski. Tate was eight months pregnant at the time of her murder.

In 1971 Manson was convicted by a Los Angeles County court of multiple counts of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder. He was originally sentenced to death, but the sentence was commuted to life in prison after California invalidated the state’s death penalty statute in 1972.

In 2012 Manson was denied parole for the 12th time. He died at California State Prison, Corcoran of cardiac arrest resulting from respiratory failure and colon cancer.

Since the 1970s Manson has been well established in American pop culture. His name and story feature in numerous books, songs, films, and television shows. There are also dozens of music recordings available that were produced by Manson and his family members. Manson ‘Murderabilia’ - items once belonging to Manson or otherwise associated with his crimes - is also a lucrative industry.

All this, and claims of ownership to songs recorded by The Beach Boys and Guns N’ Roses, amount to a highly profitable estate. The owners of the estate would also have the power to license future film, TV, and book projects. Those individuals would also have control over how Manson’s remains are handled.

An upcoming Los Angeles Superior Court session will seek to straighten out some of the information in regards to who is the rightful heir and owner of Manson’s estate. That hearing will seek to name a lawyer to administer Manson’s estate on behalf of grandson, and former MMA fighter, Jason Freeman.

Contesting Freeman’s bloodline is Matt Lentz, a musician who goes by the name Matthew Roberts. According to news.com.au, Lentz was adopted as a newborn in Illinois. Lentz claims he is descended from Manson and that he has a will signed by Manson in January 2017 that names memorabilia collector Ben Gurecki as executor and Lentz as beneficiary. Lentz is also seeking permission to obtain DNA from Manson’s corpse for a paternity test.

One of Manson’s pen pals is also making a claim for Manson’s estate. Michael Channels filed a will in 2002 that claims Manson wished to disinherit his natural born children and name Channels as his heir.

Michael Brunner, the son of Manson and cult member Mary Brunner, is also an eligible heir to the estate. However, it is thought that Brunner severed his ties with Manson long ago and that he is not interested in acquiring the estate.