Self-proclaimed lovechild of Charles Manson loses bid to force murderer's pen-pal and his 'grandson' to provide samples of the cult leader's DNA - as the three fight to inherit his $1M estate

Daily Mail, UK/March 31, 2023

By Neil Blincow

The Los Angeles judge overseeing the bitter, three-man battle to inherit Charles Manson's $1million estate, has thrown out one contender's bid to force the other two to hand over the notorious mass-murderer's DNA.

Realtor Daniel Arguelles, 62 – who insists he's Manson's son and rightful heir – was demanding his rivals, ex-mixed martial arts fighter Jason Freeman and memorabilia collector Michael Channels, provide samples of Manson's DNA in a bid to try to prove his claim.

Arguelles's attorneys argued in court documents that since Freeman – who says he's Manson's grandson – was given possession of the killer's body by a judge after his death in 2017, 'He is in the unique position of providing DNA evidence….including but not limited to remains, hair, skin, ash (Manson was cremated), teeth or other samples from decedent…..that could be tested against the DNA of Arguelles.'

The lawyers also said that Channels – who claims he has Manson's will leaving him everything, including lucrative rights to his music, art and writings – 'may have secured DNA evidence of the decedent' – during his unsuccessful 2019 legal effort to force Freeman to take a DNA test.

But on Wednesday, Judge Ruben Garcia denied Arguelles's motion to compel both men to surrender any Manson DNA samples they have, citing his failure to provide a 'legal basis.'

And the judge also turned down his additional demand for the coroner's office in Kern County, California – where Manson died – to give up any DNA from him that it has on file.

'The motion here is denied,' Judge Garcia said in a written ruling. 'Petitioner (Arguelles) has not provided a legal basis for compelling either Freeman, Channels or the Kern County Coroner to turn over the genetic material allegedly in their possession.'

The judge added that California statutes cited by Arguelles's legal team 'do not provide a procedural mechanism via which the court may order Freeman, Channels or the Kern County Coroner to turn over genetic material to (Arguelles) to permit genetic testing.'

Meanwhile, the five-year battle over Manson's estate continues.

Judge Garcia on Wednesday also postponed hearings on several other petitions and counter-petitions the three squabbling would-be heirs have filed, bashing each other, until July 5.

Last summer, it was only a two-horse race with Freeman, from Bradenton, Florida, looking like the front-runner over Channels, whose 2002 Manson 'will', Freeman claims is fake.

But in August, on the eve of a court hearing which Freeman was confident he'd emerge victorious, a third claimant, Arguelles, stepped into the fray, filing 11th-hour legal papers saying he's the mass murderer's 'biological son', thanks to an alleged one-night stand his mother had with Manson back in 1959.

And to allow Arguelles time to put his case together, Judge Garcia postponed that August hearing to Wednesday.

In his petition to probate court, Arguelles said 'there is clear and convincing evidence that he is the biological son' of Manson and he is 'entitled to an equal share' of Manson's estate.

According to court documents, after Manson was released from a five-year jail stint at Terminal Island in San Pedro, California, in late 1958, he met up in Los Angeles with Arguelles's mother, Darlene Large Pons, also known as Darlene Large Whitt.

'Petitioner (Arguelles) alleges that on or around January 25, 1959, petitioner's mother and dependent (Manson) conceived petitioner in a one-night encounter,' said Arguelles, who was born November 1, 1959.

He claimed that his mother, who died in 2020, had told him his father was James Arguelles until 1981 when his 'mother informed him that James Arguelles was not his father and that she did not know who his real father was.'

Fast forward to July 2015 when Arguelles tried to locate his biological father by sending a DNA sample to

The results, said Arguelles, showed a 'close relative match' with Michael Brunner – who was one of the original claimants in the long-running fight over Manson's estate, declaring that he also was a biological son.

The DNA evidence showed that Brunner and Arguelles 'have a 99.99998% probability that they share the same father,' he added.

Freeman challenged Arguelles' claims, saying in court documents that:

  • Arguelles was adopted, meaning he is 'not an heir of (Manson) and has no standing;'
  • Manson 'informed third parties that Arguelles was not his biological child;'
  • Manson was not named on Arguelles' birth certificate;
  • 'Any biological relationship with Michael Brunner does not prove any relationship (with Manson).'

The assertion that he's Brunner's half brother poses a major problem for Arguelles's case – since Brunner himself dropped out of the race to be declared Manson's offspring, asking the court more than three years ago to dismiss his claim.

Judge Garcia decided last June that he was satisfied Freeman is the son of Charles Manson Junior, based on an Ohio court's 1986 finding that Manson Jr. was ordered to pay child support to Freeman's mother.

But the judge said he still needed proof that Manson Jr. – who committed suicide in 1993 – was actually the offspring of Manson Sr, leader of the cult that killed eight-months-pregnant actress Sharon Tate and six others in a brutal and bloody rampage through LA in 1969.

A month later, lawyers supporting Freeman's claim sealed the deal by providing exactly what the judge was asking for – Manson Jr.'s birth certificate that they said proves his father was the infamous criminal.

The birth certificate states that Manson Jr. was born April 10 1956 in Los Angeles to Manson Sr., then 21, and 18 year-old Rosalie Jean Willis.

Charles Manson died of natural causes on November 19 2017 at Corcoran State Prison, CA where he had spent 47 years on death row.

Some of Manson's belongings, like his guitars, clothes and other personal jailhouse property that currently sits in boxes at a storage facility, could fetch thousands, perhaps more, from collectors.

But likely worth more – up to $1million according to some estimates – are the rights to his art, journals and stories and the royalties on the songs he wrote, including Look at Your Game, Girl which was recorded by Guns 'n Roses on their platinum 1993 album The Spaghetti Incident.

The Beach Boys and Marilyn Manson also recorded songs written by Manson.

Four people originally filed petitions proclaiming their right to the estate. Two of them, Brunner and Matthew Lentz – who also asserted he was Manson's kin – had their claims dismissed in 2019, leaving just Freeman and Channels.

Then, in April 2021, Nancy Claasen,  who announced she was Manson's 'half-sister' – threw her hat into the ring, insisting she was 'sole heir-at-law' and disputing the claims of both Freeman and Channels. Judge Garcia dismissed her case last year.

Freeman was the first to stake a claim by filing birth and death certificates he maintained prove he's Manson's grandson.

He said he learned about his relationship with Manson when he was eleven but his grandmother, Rosalie Willis, who was apparently married to Manson in the 1950s, never spoke about his grandfather.

Freeman has always maintained that his father was Charles Manson Jr. who couldn't live with his shameful name so changed it to Charles White, and eventually blew his own brains out in 1993.

Channels said he was friends and pen pals with Manson for 30 years and claimed to have a document written by him in 2002 which leaves his remains and estate to Channels and reads: 'I have disinherited both known sons and any unknown children in the present and in the future.'

Channels filed a court motion in 2018 demanding that Freeman submit to a DNA test to prove if he's related to Charlie Manson.

The judge in the case at that time granted the motion – but Freeman appealed and the CA Court of Appeals overturned the judge's ruling so Freeman never underwent the DNA test.

Freeman attacked Channels's assertion that he's the sole beneficiary of a purported Manson will, saying in court papers that the claim should be denied because it was 'a direct result of undue influence exercised by (Channels) over (Manson) and is not, and never was, the will of (Manson).'

Arguelles also blasted Channels's so-called will, saying the signature of Manson is forged and accusing Channels of witnessing the will with his own signature two days before Manson allegedly signed it.

In addition, Arguelles accused Channels of using 'duress, menace, fraud or undue influence' to get the will from Manson who had mental issues ,including schizophrenia and paranoid delusional disorder, according to a 1997 parole hearing.

Freeman's case stating he's sole heir to Manson's estate was supported by a March 2018 court decision in Kern County – where Corcoran is located – that awarded him possession of his grandfather's corpse.

Kern County Commissioner Alisa Knight, in Bakersfield – 100 miles north of LA – ruled: 'Freeman is hereby determined to be the surviving competent next of kin of (Charles Manson). No sufficient probative evidence was provided to the court to refute Freeman's claim.'

Five days later, Freeman was one of the speakers at a memorial service at a funeral home in Porterville, 50 miles north of Bakersfield, where some 30 people – including Manson's ex-fiancé Afton Burton and former Manson Family cult member Sandra Good – filed past the open coffin.

Manson – whose body had been in cold storage since his death at age 83 – was cremated the same day and America's most feared and hated killer's ashes were strewn along a creek bed in a nearby forest.

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