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Relatives, others want remains of cult leader Charles Manson

Published: Wednesday, December 06, 2017 @ 4:58 PM
Updated: Wednesday, December 06, 2017 @ 4:57 PM

The body of murder mastermind Charles Manson was barely cold when competing bids began for his remains and belongings among relatives and longtime associates.

Their plans have not been divulged, but some fear they might create a shrine for those who are still fascinated by the man behind the bizarre celebrity slayings that terrorized Los Angeles nearly a half-century ago.

The value of Manson's belongings — said to include music, artwork, writings and at least two guitars — is unclear. But probate attorneys said the real value of his estate could be in controlling the use of his image and the power to authorize any biographies or documentaries.

"It's going to be a food fight," said probate attorney Adam Streisand, who is not involved in the Manson case but was involved with Michael Jackson's estate and currently is representing the estate of Hugh Heffner.

"You have to sort of worry about creating a monument that becomes a focal point for people to exercise their extremist views," he said.

At the very least, it seems, Manson devotees want to prevent his ashes from being anonymously interred with other indigent inmates.

One person seeking control of Manson's estate is his purported grandson, Jason Freeman, who flew into California with a documentary film crew after Manson died last month.

His effort is challenged by Manson associate Michael Channels, who exchanged letters and visited the killer in prison. Channels has filed a two-page will in court dated Valentine's Day 2002 that purportedly leaves everything to him.

Freeman's attorney, Dale Kiken, said there might be a third claim by Los Angeles musician Matthew Roberts, who has described himself as Manson's son. His bid is backed by Ben Gurecki, who has done YouTube videos focused on Manson and told several media outlets that he obtained a January 2017 will from Manson naming Roberts as his heir.

Kiken said prison officials told him Manson left no will and he disputes the validity of the ones that have surfaced.

Kiken provided The Associated Press with a copy of a 1986 Ohio court ruling saying Freeman is the son of Charles Manson Jr., and a 1993 Colorado death certificate showing Manson Jr. as the son of Charles Manson and his first wife, Rosalie Willis.

Manson, 83, died Nov. 19 of natural causes after spending decades in prison for orchestrating the 1969 killings of pregnant actress Sharon Tate and eight other people. Prosecutors said the slayings were intended to trigger an apocalyptic race war.

Tate's sister, Debra, fears those seeking control of Manson's remains and belongings hope to profit from his dark legacy.

"Whatever he was in life, in death he deserves dignity," she said, asserting that the only way to ensure Manson is undisturbed is to have his body cremated and placed at an undisclosed site.

Freeman said he is a man of faith who wants to have his grandfather cremated and his ashes properly placed.

"It won't be in the media, it will be a private family matter from that point," he said, adding that he won't disclose his plans until the release of his planned documentary.

"We've got some plans and I'd like to see this ship take flight," he said.

Freeman, a Florida resident, and his film crew traveled last week to Corcoran State Prison, where Manson was housed in a special protective cell because of his notoriety. Freeman was accompanied by Manson associate John Michael Jones, who said he wants to ensure "that Mr. Manson's death wasn't turned into a spectacle like his life was."

Joe Townley, chief operating officer and executive producer of MY-Entertainment, said the company has been filming for about six months.

At one point, Freeman requested $3,000 each time the AP published an article about him, to provide "assistance in my time of hardship being away from my family and taking care of my grandfather." He dropped the request after it was refused.

Freeman said he was largely protected growing up when his mother and grandmother "kept the Manson name away from my doorstep."

However, he long blamed Manson for his father's suicide until he came to believe the real cause was the media pressure from being Manson's son.

He exchanged letters and phone calls with his imprisoned grandfather in recent years, and said he is determined to be present for his own children to break the cycle of fatherless upbringings that he believes doomed both his father and grandfather.

"It was almost as if he had a shield in front of his heart and I tried to share personal stuff with him about my father and about my children so he could understand that in my lifetime I brought the family tree full circle," Freeman said of Manson.

Gurecki and Roberts did not return repeated telephone messages, and Channels could not be reached despite repeated telephone calls.

Tom Petty died of accidental drug overdose, family says 

Published: Friday, January 19, 2018 @ 7:15 PM

Tom Petty Death Caused By Accidental Drug Overdose

Tom Petty died from an accidental drug overdose after taking a variety of medications, the family for the legendary rock star said Friday. 

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Petty, who suffered emphysema, knee problems and more recently a fractured hip, was prescribed various pain medications including Fentanyl patches, his family said. 

“On the day he died he was informed his hip had graduated to a full on break and it is our feeling that the pain was simply unbearable and was the cause for his over use of medication,” his family wrote on Facebook

The family called Petty’s Oct. 2 death an unfortunate accident. 

“As a family we recognize this report may spark a further discussion on the opioid crisis and we feel that it is a healthy and necessary discussion and we hope in some way this report can save lives. Many people who overdose begin with a legitimate injury or simply do not understand the potency and deadly nature of these medications.”

DOVER, DE - JUNE 22: Tom Petty performs onstage at the Firefly Music Festival at The Woodlands of Dover International Speedway on June 22, 2013 in Dover, Delaware. (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Firefly Music Festival)(Theo Wargo)

Drake makes surprise appearance at Memphis nightclub

Published: Friday, January 19, 2018 @ 10:47 PM

TORONTO, ON - SEPTEMBER 09:  Drake attends
TORONTO, ON - SEPTEMBER 09: Drake attends "The Carter Effect" premiere during the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival at Princess of Wales Theatre on September 9, 2017 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images)(Joe Scarnici/Getty Images)

He may have started from the bottom, but rapper Drake is making headlines after doing one dance that started in the Bluff City.

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According to party promoter Curtis Givens, the Grammy winner called him wanting to have a private party at In LOVE Memphis, a popular nightclub.

Givens said it was a last minute call, but he and his business partner were up for the challenge.

As word quickly spread that Drake was in Memphis, videos started to popping up on social media.

He was seen doing the popular "shoot" dance made famous by Memphis rapper BlocBoy JB.

About Last Night Wit My Bro🔥💯 @champagnepapi

A post shared by BlocBoy JB 💯💯💯 (@blocboy_jb) on

Drake even previewed new music during his appearance at the club.
He also made a stop at Friday night's Grizzlies game against the Sacramento Kings.

Drake is no stranger to the area. His father, Dennis Graham, is from Memphis, and Drake is known to visit frequently.

Woman dies after falling from balcony of Carnival cruise ship

Published: Friday, January 19, 2018 @ 9:54 PM

Carnival Cruise Elation. (Photo: ActionNewsJax.com)
Carnival Cruise Elation. (Photo: ActionNewsJax.com)

A woman died Friday after falling from the balcony of a room on the Jacksonville-based Carnival Elation cruise ship.

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The woman fell from the balcony to several decks below, Carnival said in a statement.

Carnival Elation departed Jacksonville on Thursday for a four-day cruise to the Bahamas.

Carnival sent the following statement to Action News Jax:
"Early this morning a guest fell from her balcony to several decks below. The ship’s medical team responded immediately, but, unfortunately, she passed away. The incident was reported to all proper authorities and CARE Team support was offered to fellow travelers and her family. Our thoughts and prayers are with the deceased and her family. Carnival Elation departed Jacksonville Jan. 18 on a four-day cruise to the Bahamas."

Trump cancels Florida trip as government shutdown looms

Published: Friday, January 19, 2018 @ 11:35 AM

What You Need to Know: Government Shutdown

President Donald Trump will not make a planned trip to Mar-a-Lago today because of a looming federal government shutdown, a White House official told The Palm Beach Post on Friday morning.

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Trump was scheduled to arrive at Palm Beach International Airport tonight for a weekend trip that included a Saturday fundraiser for his 2020 re-election campaign at Mar-a-Lago. The official who confirmed today’s travel is off did not address the president’s plans for the remainder of the weekend.

5 Things to Know About Mar-a-Lago

Trump was planning to make the 12th Palm Beach visit of his presidency. But Congress has not reached a spending agreement to keep the federal government operating past midnight.

Saturday is the one-year anniversary of Trump taking office. The Trump campaign recently announced a “special sweepstakes” in which a winner will get to attend dinner Saturday at Mar-a-Lago with Trump, first lady Melania Trump and Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump.