Fight for Charles Manson's Body Turns Into 'Circus,' Attorney Says

Death has not stopped notorious cult leader Charles Manson from causing trouble for authorities.

Manson died on Nov. 19, but his body continues to sit on ice, not because no one will claim it, but because too many people are vying for its rights.

At least five people have come forward to claim the killer’s body, including a man who says he is Manson’s grandson, the Los Angeles Times reports. Two other individuals told officials they should be given rights to the body because they were pen pals with the incarcerated felon.

“This is a really weird legal case, Bryan Walters, a county attorney, told the LA Times. “It’s like a circus, and nothing is clear where we should hang our hat on.”

Based on the legal tug-of-war for the rights to Manson’s remains, the Kern County Counsel filed paperwork in Los Angeles Country Superior Court on Monday asking the court to monitor all claims to his body.

But even this request presents another legal issue as local officials aren’t sure which court should be awarded jurisdiction over Manson’s estate. In California, that jurisdiction is determined by the location of the “domicile” of the deceased.

“What is the domicile of Charles Manson?” Walters questioned. “He would’ve returned to Los Angeles? He could’ve been shipped everywhere by the prison system. Is it where he was housed?”

As previously reported, California law states that if an incarcerated person’s body remains unclaimed for 10 days, the prison is responsible for disposing of the remains.


Sources said Manson’s body would be cremated should no one claim the body, but with multiple parties looking to be awarded rights to the remains, his corpse remains on ice. Though Manson was weak and under hospital care when he died, he did not designate a person to take possession of his body.

Manson died of “natural causes” last month after a week-long hospital stay. While this cause of death leaves room for interpretation, it is a blanket term to confirm he wasn’t killed by anything other than disease or the natural aging process; he was not murdered, nor did he overdose of drugs or alcohol, nor did he die by suicide.