Cult leader and convicted murderer Charles Manson died of natural causes on November 19th, and authorities are now dealing with the question of what to do with his remains. Manson was convicted of first-degree murder in 1971 after followers in his cult committed nine murders on his instructions. He was originally given a death sentence, which was later modified to life imprisonment, and he had been imprisoned for almost half a century before his death last Friday.
Under State of California law, his next of kin has ten days after his death to claim possession of the body, or the state will decide whether Manson’s body will be cremated or buried. Normally, in Kern County, unclaimed remains are interred in a group vault at Union Cemetery in Bakersfield.
Prison officials have not revealed whether Manson’s remains have been claimed by relatives. Kristina Khokhobashvili, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, says that it is “not releasable information.” However, Jason Freeman, who claims to be the cult leader’s biological grandson from estranged son Charles Manson Jr., has told reporters that he is interested in claiming his grandfather’s remains.
“I will definitely speak with the inner circle of people who love my grandfather and who may know more [about] where he would want to be,” the Floridian father-of-three told the Daily News. “I’m working on doing my part.” It is not yet known how he will prove his biological connection to Manson, but he plans to fly to California later this week to discuss the matter with prison officials.
Dealing with the remains of notorious criminals is a contentious issue, as many worries that their burial spots may become shrines for those enthralled by their crimes. Earlier this year, a UK judge ruled that there would be “no music and no ceremony” for famous child killer Ian Brady. Instead, his ashes were interred at sea in the middle of the night.
State of California spokesperson Vicky Waters did not give a statement on whether officials would take similar precautions with Manson’s remains. “I’m not able to discuss those details,” she said. “All I can say is that the department will comply with California law on this matter.”
But Freeman says that if he is able to claim Manson’s remains he will ensure that his grandfather has “a proper burial.” Although his family has a complicated relationship with the deceased cult leader, he says he still loved him. “Most people in the world wouldn’t understand. They wouldn’t get what I’m saying,” Freeman told The Daily Post. “But all I have is my love.”
For more stories like this, click ‘NEXT POST.’ And why not ‘SHARE’ on Facebook?