The four-month legal battle over the ownership of mass murderer Charles Manson’s body has ended with the remains being put in the care of his grandson, Jason Freeman.

Cult leader Manson’s body had been kept in deep freeze by the Kern County Sheriff-Coroner’s office since his death on Nov. 19 at the age of 83.

Three claimants were in dispute over the body. Michael Channels, who had corresponded with Manson for many years, had submitted a will that made him executor of the dead man’s estate, but its validity was said to be in doubt. Matthe Robert Lentz claimed to be Manson’s son, but the will he had was also regarded as legally dubious.

Freeman was the son of Charles Manson Jr., who changed his name to White, and shot himself to death in 1993. Freeman claimed ownership as the true next of kin, and a judge at Los Angeles Probate Court ruled in his favor yesterday, ordering him to take custody of the body.

Amid fears that the remains could become a shrine to undesirable members of society, Freeman recently said he was planning a cremation, followed by the scattering of ashes at a private ceremony. “I've always known who my grandfather was, from as far back as I can remember," he told Rolling Stone. "It's always been there. I've known all my life. I never imagined I would be on such a big stage that God built before I was born. I am a grandson working to take the proper steps to show my respect to my grandfather and his true close friends. I'm not only doing this for me. It's for everyone who stands firm in the truth of life. I'm just a tool walking this part of my journey out. It has brought a lot of hardship on my life and family at home."

In a separate statement during the court hearing, Freeman argued that “if a grandson can't say he loves his grandfather, the world's pretty messed up. I love my grandfather. Everyone makes mistakes. I'm not talking about the mistakes he's made. I'm not making a judgment, I don't want anyone to judge me."

The question of ownership of Manson’s estate remains outstanding, with further court action likely. Freeman said that, if he should inherit and if the estate has any monetary value, he would donate it.

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