While Charles Manson‘s corpse remains on ice in a California morgue, the battle over his body continues. According to legal documents obtained by Radar Online, the sociopath’s pen pal, Michael Channels, insists he’s the beneficiary of Manson’s estate — and thus deserves his remains. On Jan. 8, Channels appeared before a judge during a hearing at the Superior Court of California in Los Angeles to continue his fight.
Unfortunately for Channels, he isn’t the only one vying for his body. In fact, as many as five people are in the running. According to the Los Angeles Times, the coroner is worried that Manson’s corpse could be placed in the wrong hands.
“We have the following problem we’re trying to cope with here: The Department of Corrections asked the Kern County Coroner to receive the body because we have refrigeration and they don’t,” Bryan Walters, a deputy attorney in the county counsel’s office, told the newspaper. “When we received it, we thought no one would claim the body. We assumed it would be an easy matter to take care of.”
But, as Walters went on to explain, multiple individuals are in pursuit of Manson’s body. “This is a really weird legal case,” he added. “We’ve had pen pals that claim they have written wills. It’s like a circus, and nothing is clear where we should hang our hat on.”
According to minutes from the latest hearing, the court ruled that Channels must file a new petition requesting Manson’s remains, and a new hearing has been set for Jan. 26. If he’s successful, Channels hopes to cremate Manson’s body and spread his ashes in the desert.
As previously reported, Manson died of natural causes at the age of 83 on Nov. 19, after spending 46 years behind bars. His health first started to decline last January when doctors discovered a lesion in his intestines. Though he had internal bleeding and was in need of surgery, medical staff deemed Manson too weak to operate on — and he was sent back to prison.
Prior to his decades-long prison stint, Manson’s followers killed nine people under his instructions in the 1960s. He was sentenced to the death penalty in 1971, but his life was spared when California abolished capital punishment just one year later. Some of his most well-known victims include actress Sharon Tate, celebrity hair guru Jay Sebring, and coffee heiress Abigail Folger.