Charles Manson's Half-Sister Drops Bid to Oversee Late Cult Leader's Estate

Neither Michael Channels, the former Manson pen pal, nor any of his attorneys appeared for Monday's virtual hearing, so the judge postponed any further proceedings until Aug. 12.

Charles Manson 1969

The half-sister of the late Charles Manson dropped out of what was a three-way contest to permanently run the late cult leader's estate, whittling the field down to Manson's self-professed grandson and a onetime Manson pen pal.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Ruben Garcia granted a request by Dilair Nafoosi, an attorney for Nancy Claassen of Spokane, Washington, that Manson's half-sibling's petition be denied “without prejudice,”  meaning it can be refiled later. Nafoosi said he was making the decision based on a June 17 minute order by the judge in which Garcia found that Claasen had not presented any evidence rebutting Jason Freeman's claim to be the son of the late Charles Manson Jr., who Freeman maintains was Manson's son.

Under California law, when someone dies without a will, their children and grandchildren take priority over siblings when it comes to deciding beneficiaries.

Garcia said in his June findings that more litigation was needed to determine whether Manson Jr. was indeed the elder Manson's son. He did not rule Monday on the validity of Manson Jr.'s birth certificate filed with the court July 19 by lawyer Alan Davis and whether it provides proof he was the son of the late cult leader. Davis represents Dale Kiken, a lawyer and the current temporary special administrator of the Manson estate. Kiken is advocating for Freeman's kinship claim.

The birth certificate produced by Davis and obtained from the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk's Office states that Manson Jr. was born April 10, 1956, in what was then known as Los Angeles County General Hospital to Manson Sr., then 21, and Rosalie Jean Willis, who was 18 years old at the time.

Manson Jr., also named Charles Jay White, committed suicide in June 1993. In his findings, Garcia said he concluded that Freeman is Manson Jr.'s son based on a February 1986 finding by an Ohio judge in which Manson Jr. was ordered to pay child support payments to Freeman's mother.

Neither Michael Channels, the former Manson pen pal, nor any of his attorneys appeared for Monday's virtual hearing, so the judge postponed any further proceedings until Aug. 12.

In their court papers, Channels' attorneys state that Manson's 2002 will, filed in Kern County in November 2017, names their client as the person Manson intended to administer his estate.

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However, Freeman has filed court papers stating that probate of the Channels will should be denied because it was created "as a direct result of undue influence exercised by (Channels) over (Manson) and is not, and never was, the will of (Manson)."

Davis said after Monday's hearing that if the Manson Jr. birth certificate is found to be valid, the judge will have to determine the validity of the purported Manson will Channels produced.

Manson suffered from heart disease and other ailments before he died in November 2017 at age 83.

Manson and members of his outcast "family" of followers were convicted of killing actress Sharon Tate -- who was eight months pregnant -- and six other people during a bloody rampage in the Los Angeles area in August 1969.

The Manson clan also stabbed to death grocery magnate Leno La Bianca and his wife Rosemary La Bianca the night after the Tate murders.

Manson was convicted of seven counts of first-degree murder and one count of conspiracy to commit murder in the deaths of Tate, the La Biancas, and four other people at the Tate residence -- coffee heiress Abigail Ann Folger, photographer Wojciech Frykowski, hairdresser Jay Sebring and Steven Earl Parent, who was shot in his car on his way to visit an acquaintance who lived in a separate rented guest house on the Tate property.

Manson and followers Charles "Tex" Watson, Leslie Van Houten, Patricia Krenwinkel and the late Susan Atkins all were convicted and sentenced to state prisons in 1971. Manson also was convicted in December of that year of first-degree murder for the July 25, 1969, death of Gary Hinman and the August 1969 death of Donald Shea.

Manson and the others originally were sentenced to death, but a 1972 state Supreme Court decision caused all capital sentences in California to be commuted to life in prison. There was no life-without-parole sentence at the time.

Manson was denied parole a dozen times.

Copyright CNS - City News Service
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