Charles Manson's body remains refrigerated in the Kern County coroner's office

By Elaine Aradillas
January 11, 2018 03:49 PM

Infamous serial killer Charles Manson died in November, but his corpse remains refrigerated in a California coroner’s office as two people wage a court battle over rights to the body, according to reports.

On Nov. 19, Manson, 83, died of natural causes while serving nine life sentences in California’s Corcoran State Prison for the 1969 murders of actress Sharon Tate and eight others.

Since then, Manson’s alleged grandson Jason Freeman has filed a petition for the release of his remains. But a former prison pen pal of Manson’s, Michael Channels, has also expressed a desire to obtain Manson’s remains and claims to own a will belonging to Manson.

On Monday, attorneys for Channels and Freeman appeared in front of a Los Angeles County judge. The judge requested information from both parties which will be discussed at a hearing on Jan. 26.

“[Channels] claims to have a will,” Freeman’s attorney Alan Davis tells PEOPLE. “According to this document that he claims is Manson’s will, he’s supposed to get the body.”

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Davis disagrees with Channels’ claim and hopes to have the matter resolved at the next hearing.

“Jason [Freeman] would like to give his grandfather a burial or cremation or whatever he has in mind,” Davis says.

Credit: AP

Davis adds that he believes everyone involved would like to see a quick resolution.

“[Kern County], they don’t want to hold him forever,” Davis says. “[All parties would] like to get this resolved as quickly as possible.”

Manson, who was a career criminal, spent the majority of his life behind bars.

On Aug. 8, 1969 — having already orchestrated the death of Gary Hinman a month earlier — Manson dispatched three of his female followers to the rented Los Angeles-area home of pregnant Hollywood star Tate, wife of director Roman Polanski, and ordered them to kill everyone there.

His followers killed Tate, Abigail Ann Folger, Wojciech Frykowski, Steven Earl Parent and Jay Sebring.

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The next night, Manson ordered his followers to kill again: They descended upon the home of Leno and Rosemary LaBianca, in the tony Los Feliz neighborhood of Los Angeles, and murdered the couple.

Two months later, Manson was arrested after he was found hiding in a bathroom cabinet at a ramshackle ranch in Death Valley, California. Between the Tate-LaBianca killings and Manson’s arrest, he and some of his followers killed again, murdering Donald “Shorty” Shea in late August 1969.