Charles Manson’s Estate Still Up for Grabs

MansonThe sons of Charles Manson fail to show up in court Tuesday and therefore could soon be out of the legal battle over his estate.

Matthew Lentz arrived after the brief hearing at Los Angeles Superior Court had ended in the probate case of the late cult leader. Lentz appeared disheveled and frazzled. He claims that he was fathered by Manson at a 1967 orgy.

Another supposed son, Michael Brunner, has filed a motion to drop his claims as an alleged heir to the convicted murderer. If the two men drop out, it would leave a purported grandson to fight Manson’s pen pal, who filed a will that names him as sole beneficiary to the potentially lucrative estate.

This leaves at least three individuals who claim a relationship to Manson, along with two so-called “murderabilia” collectors, who befriended the criminal and who have emerged in the court battle. The 83-year-old Manson died in a hospital last November while serving a life sentence for masterminding the 1969 killings of pregnant actress Sharon Tate and eight others in a Los Angeles Hills mansion.

Lentz is listed as the sole beneficiary in 2017 will that names memorabilia collector Ben Gurecki as executor. Some say that the will is a fake. Lentz brought a plastic case to the hearing.  It was overflowing with rambling letters from Manson that he hoped would convince a judge that he was Manson’s son. Lentz said he’s seeking the rights to a song Manson said he wrote for him. However, the judge said Lentz had until a July 13 hearing to show why he shouldn't be dismissed from the case.

Brunner's mother was a former Manson family member, and he’s widely believed to be Manson's son. Mary Brunner was in jail on credit card fraud case in August 1969, when Manson instructed his followers to carry out killings that he hoped would create a race war. Michael Brunner was one of those who also fought in court over the right to collect the body of Manson for burial.

However, Manson’s remains were granted to Jason Freeman, a purported grandson from Florida. He had the remains cremated and scattered the ashes after a brief private funeral in March. Brunner lost because he surrendered his right to be deemed an heir when he was adopted by his maternal grandparents, a judge ruled. His quest for the estate is likely to meet a similar end. Lentz has the same problem. Unlike Brunner, he doesn't have a birth certificate naming Manson as his father.  However, he was also adopted and later pieced his paternity together, after tracking down his biological mother.

Michael Channels, who was a Manson pen pal, sold his songs and artwork. He’s also fighting for the estate. The will he filed names him as executor. The court that ruled against him in the case for Manson’s remains, said the will presents a possible conflict of interest because he was one of the two witnesses, while also the sole beneficiary.

Reference: WPXI News (May 8, 2018) “Purported sons could be out of Charles Manson estate fight”


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