Charles Manson’s grandson isn’t giving up his plan to claim and bury the mass murderer, even after GoFundMe pulled the plug on his fundraising website Thursday.
“If we can’t raise money with GoFundMe, we’ll find another way. It will definitely be a group effort. It’s not just one person, it’s a lot of people holding hands,” Jason Freeman told the New York Daily News.
Freeman, 41, said he was on a Thanksgiving walk in some Ohio woods when he learned the crowd-sourcing page set up by his friend John Jones had been deactivated.
The fundraiser reached $979 before GoFundMe shut it down and was meant to cover the legal, travel and burial fees associated with claiming Manson’s remains in California.
“I have no clue,” Freeman said when asked if GoFundMe gave a reason for the blackout. “This is a circus. I’m letting a couple of my friends assist and help out. I’m trying to stay out of it.”
The married father of three confirmed he discussed with Jones the high costs associated with flying to California to assert his next-of-kin status and claim Manson’s remains from the Kern County coroner.
“It’s going to be a lot. There’s a lot of people who want to contribute, and then there’s a lot of people who want to protest,” Freeman told the Daily News.
Jones said on the GoFundMe page that Freeman lost his job this month and needs help because he also has a family to support.
Freeman said he still hopes to make it to California before the 10-day window for claiming Manson’s remains closes.
“It’s a family obligation. It’s just what you do in life. I don’t know what’s going to come,” he told the Daily News.
Freeman first stepped forward in a 2012 CNN interview, saying he barely knew his own father, who was the only son of Manson and first wife Rosalie.
Born Charles Manson Jr., Freeman’s estranged dad changed his name to Jay White after Rosalie divorced the future cult leader.
White eventually killed himself in June 1993 while in his late 30s.
Freeman said he blamed his grandfather for White’s death until he started speaking with Manson by phone eight years ago and reached a place of “forgiveness.”
Freeman started lobbying for the right to visit Manson at Corcoran State Prison but never succeeded. Asked why a meeting never took place, he declined to get specific but suggested Manson himself never gave the green light.
“I get emotional (talking about this),” Freeman told the Daily News on Monday. “Some stuff is frustrating. He wanted to protect me, keep me out of all the pressure and hatred the world has.”
Freeman lamented waiting so long to reach out to Manson.
“It’s weighing on my shoulders. I should have been faster, should have done more, should have done something different. It’s like I was trying too hard at the end of the marathon and now the marathon is over. That’s what it feels like,” he said. “I don’t want to say I feel defeated, but I feel beat up right now.”
Freeman said he believes his grandfather was “guilty of murder some time in his life,” but he said his deep spirituality filled him with compassion.
“Most people in the world wouldn’t understand. They wouldn’t get what I’m saying. We all look at anybody and everybody who kills as a killer. But all I have is my love,” he said.
The clock is ticking for Freeman to make his claim on Manson’s remains.
Manson’s body was in the possession of the Kern County coroner on Monday because he died of natural causes in a hospital in Bakersfield, Calif., not Corcoran State Prison, a prison spokeswoman confirmed to the Daily News.
According to state regulations, Manson’s remains will be released to a licensed funeral director unless the coroner makes special arrangements.
Manson might even get a ceremony, if he asked for one.
“A chaplain of the decedent’s professed faith may perform a ceremony in accordance with that faith,” the California Code of Regulations governing inmate death states.
If Manson legally designated someone for death notification, prison staff will attempt to reach that person with a visit, telephone call or telegram, in accordance with state regulations.
If after 10 days the legally approved person fails to contact the designated funeral director, Manson will be considered unclaimed, the regulations state.
In that case, the funeral home would make arrangements to inter Manson using state resources.
If not already there, Manson would likely be sent to Union Cemetery in Bakersfield for cremation. His ashes would then fit into a container about half the size of a shoebox.
According to the Kern County coroner’s website, unclaimed remains are interred at Union Cemetery.
A Bakersfield Californian report from 2010 said Kern County’s unclaimed remains were stacked unceremoniously inside a group vault at Union Cemetery.
That unmarked vault was in the top row of a 90-year-old mausoleum on the property.
To find such unclaimed remains, visitors must consult the cemetery’s records to determine location, the newspaper said.
Manson’s followers killed actress Sharon Tate Polanski and six others during a terrifying two-night murder spree in August 1969.
Tate, who was 8 1/2 months’ pregnant, begged for her life as she was stabbed repeatedly inside her Los Angeles house along with coffee heiress Abigail Folger, celebrity hair stylist Jay Sebring and two others.
The next night, Manson’s gang chose another house at random and brutally murdered wealthy grocer Leno LaBianca and his wife, Rosemary.
Manson was eventually convicted of nine murders in all and spent nearly a half century in prison before dying Sunday night at the age of 83.
He was originally sentenced to death, but that was commuted to life with the possibility of parole when the death penalty was briefly outlawed in 1972.
Prosecutors said Manson and his followers were trying to incite an Armageddon-like race war named after the Beatles’ song “Helter Skelter.”
Manson was denied parole 12 times between November 1978 and April 2012.
He was not eligible to have another parole hearing until 2027.