A Bradenton man who claims to be Charles Manson’s grandson reportedly plans to bring his grandfather’s remains to Florida.
Manson died Sunday night of natural causes after spending nearly 50 years in prison for orchestrating brutal murders in 1969. In an interview with SFGATE, Jason Freeman said he wants to fly out to California, have his grandfather cremated and bring the ashes back to Florida.
But when Freeman spoke to the Bradenton Herald Wednesday evening, he said he hasn’t nailed down any plans for his grandfather’s remains.
“It’s still a long shot that me and my attorney are working on,” he said. “We want something that’s not going to create a lot of traffic.”
Never miss a local story.
Freeman has owned a home in Bradenton for two years, but often travels out of state for his work in the gas and oil industry, he told the Herald. The New York Daily News reported that Freeman, 41, is married and lives in Florida with his three children.
In a CNN profile five years ago, Freeman announced that he was “coming out” and wanted the Manson family to stop living in fear of the name they inherited.
Until eight years ago, Freeman told the Herald that his grandfather didn’t even know he existed.
Manson reached out to him after Freeman published a book called “Knocking Out the Devil” that explains the adversity he went through as fatherless child. Charles Manson Jr., who later changed his name to Jay White, was Freeman’s father. He committed suicide via a gunshot to the head in 1993.
“I look at my grandfather — he didn’t have a father figure or anyone to bounce ideas off of, or a childhood — and you see where he ended up,” Freeman said. “It was the same with my father – his father was in jail.”
When Manson died, Freeman said that he first felt upset that he could never achieve his goal of meeting his grandfather. Over the past few years, Freeman said, he’s been working on a documentary about Manson.
“Not being able to sit beside my grandfather was highly frustrating, but I came to realize that I was probably the only family member ever to touch my grandfather’s heart,” said Freeman, who describes himself as a devout Christian. “Before he passed, he knew that the love I carry in my heart for the Lord is the same love I have for him.”
As apparently the only grandson, Freeman said he feels he’s doing what’s right to give his grandfather the burial he would’ve wanted.
“Anybody that has a parent or grandparent who’s passed away knows that it’s the time to step up and do your part,” he told the Herald.
While the plans aren’t finalized, Freeman said he’s doing all he can to make his way out to California to claim Manson’s remains.
The Kern County coroner is in possession of Manson’s remains, and California law requires that a legal relative must claim a dead prisoner’s remains within 10 days of their death before the state contracts an undertaker.
According to CNN, Freeman first realized that his grandfather was the mastermind behind seven slayings while in an eighth-grade history class.
“(The teacher) was talking about Charles Manson, and I’m looking around like, are there people staring at me?” he said.
Freeman said he recently started to review Manson’s case and that he has reached a place of “forgiveness.” He often takes to Facebook to update his friends on his progress.
“I’ve been slowly digging into the case to see the other side of the coin. I’m going on one year now,” Freeman wrote in an Aug. 21 Facebook post. “I’m doing this for me.”
He told SFGATE that in addition to Manson’s remains, he’d also like to obtain Manson’s crayon drawings and scorpion and spider sculptures that he made from human hair and string.
In a handwritten July 27 letter, Freeman wrote to his “grandpa” that “while you’re still alive, I’ll fight for you, beside you.”
According to Inside Edition, Freeman attempted to schedule a visit with Manson in prison, but Manson never approved of a meeting.