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Judge decides grandson will get Charles Manson's body

Decision comes 4 months after cult leader's death

LOS ANGELES (CNN) - A court has decided that Charles Manson's body, after months sitting on ice, will go to Jason Freeman -- who claims to be Manson's grandson.

Almost four months after Manson died at a hospital in Bakersfield, California, Kern County Superior Court Commissioner Alisa Knight chose among three competing claims -- by Freeman, Michael Brunner, who says he's the cult leader's son, and Michael Channels, a Manson friend and memorabilia collector who says he has the only valid will.

A fourth -- Matthew Lentz -- who says he is also Manson's son and has a will that only addresses Manson's estate, sided with Brunner.

The Kern County Coroner's office has kept Manson's body at an undisclosed location since his death on November 19 at age 83.

Manson spent 46 years in prison for his involvement a grisly murder spree that left seven dead in August 1969 -- a crime that terrified the nation during the turbulent '60s. Manson hoped the murders would trigger a race war.

Still to be decided is who, among the four men, will retain the rights to Manson's estate. That will be decided in a Los Angeles court, the last place Manson voluntarily lived.

Channels and Lentz each have a will they claim Manson signed and named inheritor. Brunner's attorney says as Manson's son, Brunner retains the rights. Jason Freeman says he's the next of kin. The next court hearing is March 16. Up for grabs are writings, drawings and music compositions.

Before today's decision was handed down, Debra Tate, the sister of "Manson family" murder victim Sharon Tate, told CNN "I feel bad this man is not ... in some kind of restful state."

Tate said she knows that view must seem "quite magnanimous" given the circumstances. But, she said, "I have forgiven these people. I have no ill will toward any of them as long as they stay behind bars. But in death, everything should be handled in a dignified manner."

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