A Los Angeles judge said Wednesday he wants to see court orders in Kern County and Ohio that allegedly bolster a Florida resident’s claim to be the grandson of the late cult leader Charles Manson before ruling on whether the man should undergo DNA testing to prove his assertion.
Michael Channels, a former Manson pen pal, wants Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Clifford Klein to order DNA testing of 43-year-old Jason Freeman, who told the judge in December that he would not voluntarily agree to it.
Klein said he wants to have the orders before him, as well as additional briefing from the attorneys, and set another hearing for Aug. 22.
Meanwhile, Klein has extended until Aug. 30 attorney Dale Kiken’s role as temporary special administrator over Manson’s estate. Kiken originally was appointed to the role in August 2018, giving him authority to protect Freeman’s interests.
Kiken is tasked with recovering property, on behalf of Freeman, that Manson left behind in prison when he died at age 83 on Nov. 19, 2017, at Bakersfield Mercy Hospital of heart failure triggered by colon cancer that had spread to other parts of his body.
Freeman won a significant court victory when a Kern County commissioner ruled in March 2018 that he was entitled to Manson’s remains. Freeman and Kiken maintain that a 2002 Manson will Channels alleges he possesses is a forgery.
Kiken’s lawyer, Alan Davis, said the Kern County order established that Freeman was Manson’s grandson. In his court papers opposing the DNA testing of Freeman, Davis stated that in February 1986, an Ohio judge found that Freeman was the son of Charles Manson Jr., who committed suicide in June 1993.
Speaking to City News Service after Wednesday morning’s hearing, Kiken said there never has been any dispute that Manson Jr. was the son of the convicted killer and that even if the DNA testing came back negative on Freeman, the Ohio court order finding that Manson Jr. was Freeman’s father would take priority.
In papers filed last Thursday, Channels said Manson’s 2002 will, filed in Kern County in November 2017, names him as the executor of Manson’s estate.
“The facts of this case are peculiar since (Manson) was a convicted murderer serving time in prison,” Channels’ court papers state. “There is not the usual ability of the court to evaluate whether Mr. Freeman would be considered a grandchild, such as visits or family dinners or reunions.”
Channels’ attorneys maintain in their court papers that the Ohio court order was obtained by default because Manson Jr. never showed up for the hearing. The order was never enforced before Manson Jr. died, according to Channels’ attorneys.
A trial on the competing petitions by Kiken and Channels to be the estate’s permanent administrator has not yet been set.
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