The Tragic Life And Death Of Charles Manson Jr.

It's not surprising that the children of someone as notorious as Charles Manson had some baggage to deal with. Even though the oldest-known offspring of Manson never knew the man, just knowing he shared the same DNA with one of the world's most reviled killers caused him a lot of trouble. Born Charles Manson, Jr. to Manson and his young bride Rosalie Willis, Manson's son later changed his name to Jay White (via All That's Interesting). Though a name change might be enough to conceal your family history from your peers, it might not be enough to overcome the impact knowing your father is Charles Manson would have on your mental health.

Manson, most well-known for his role in the murders of Sharon Tate and the LaBianca family in August 1969, was no stranger to the inside of a cell when he met White's mother in 1955. Manson had already spent a good number of years behind bars since the age of 12, but at 20 appeared to be on the right track with his life. Willis, who was 15 when they wed, gave birth to White.

Shortly after the birth of his son, Manson was arrested. He received visits from his wife until 1957 when she ended the marriage and began dating another man. Manson's now ex-wife began a new life without the man who would later be known as a cold-blooded killer. But the life of the child they shared would be mired in tragedy.

White's brother Jed was killed at age 11

Jay White's mother married a man named Jack White while Charles Manson was still incarcerated for the auto theft charge. The couple had two more children in the next few years, sons Jesse (born in 1958) and Jed (born in 1959). The marriage between the two did not last long, with the couple divorcing in 1965, according to The Heavy.

White and his brothers lived with their mother when tragedy struck in 1971. On January 4, it was reported that 11-year-old Jed White was killed by a shotgun blast to his stomach. The youth had been playing with two friends in another home when one of them accidentally fired the shotgun. The death was ruled accidental, and he was said to have died almost instantly (per The Times-Reporter).

The grief of losing a sibling at such a young age would take its toll on anyone. Sadly, however, it would not be the last family tragedy to befall the Whites in the coming years.

White's brother Jesse died of a drug overdose in 1986

On August 23, 1986, a friend of Jesse White woke up in the backseat of White's car after a night of drinking. They had been bar hopping in Alvin, Texas, until around 2 a.m. After leaving the bar with White behind the wheel, White had driven to meet a man, unknown to his friend, so that White could get "some kind of dope." After White got the drugs, his friend crawled into the backseat to fall asleep. When he awakened at 6:30 the same morning, he discovered that White was dead (via All That's Interesting).

In the coroner's inquest, posted by a true crime blog, it was determined that the 28-year-old White had toxic levels of morphine and ethanol in his system. The combination of the two drugs led to "pulmonary edema and congestion," a medical way of saying that his lungs filled with fluid and he stopped breathing.

If you or anyone you know is struggling with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

White had at least one child of his own

Not much is known about Jay White's life as an adult. Court records show that Charles Manson's son fathered at least one child of his own and was ordered to pay the child's mother monthly child support. This, according to the Times of San Diego, was outlined in a 1986 court order.

The child White fathered grew up without knowing his father. His son, Jason Freeman, told CNN that he felt that White made every effort to keep a distance from his son so that he would not have a connection to Charles Manson. Aside from the occasional letter and gifts sent through the mail, the contact White had with his son was kept to a bare minimum. Freeman said White struggled with people knowing his true family lineage. The reality of who White's biological father was seemed to weigh on him his entire adult life.

"He couldn't live it down. He couldn't live down who his father was," Freeman said, according to All That's Interesting.

White died by suicide in 1993

On June 29, 1993, Jay White drove his vehicle outside of Burlington, Colorado, where he died by suicide. His car, later found at Exit 438 on Interstate 70, revealed no clues as to why. Jason Freeman, White's son, said that White could never live down who fathered him (via CNN).

White's son told CNN he wished his father could know just how much he missed out on over the years. By then a father himself, Freeman said White deserved to live long enough to meet his grandchildren. He told CNN he wished he could turn back time and meet his father on that stretch of interstate in 1993 to tell him there would be better days ahead. White was buried in Greenwood Cemetery in Hopedale, Ohio (via Find a Grave).

Freeman, meanwhile, revealed his ancestry over a decade ago (via All That's Interesting). The MMA and cage fighter (who sometimes fights under the name "Charles Manson III," according to Bloody Elbow) reasoned that hiding behind the shadow of family shame wasn't how he wanted to live his life. As an 8th grader, he discovered who his notorious grandfather was, and was forbidden to discuss it with anyone. In particular, he was not allowed to say a word about Charles Manson to his grandmother, Rosalie Willis.

If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline by dialing 988 or by calling 1-800-273-TALK (8255)​.

White's death led to a legal fight for Manson's estate

After Charles Manson died in 2017, three individuals petitioned the court for control of his estate. As his biological grandson, Jason Freeman made the legal argument that he should have sole control. But Manson's last will, drawn up in 2002, named long-time prison pen pal Michael Channels as executor (via Times of San Diego). Channels filed a petition with the probate court, demanding that the will be upheld.

Freeman, meanwhile, petitioned the court with statements disputing the validity of that will. His lawyer argued that it was drawn up that way as a result of the "undue influence" of Channels on Manson. To further complicate matters, Nancy Claassen, who was Manson's half-sister on his mother's side, made a probate claim stating that she was the "sole heir at law."

The court battle over who is Manson's legal heir and executor continues to this day, with the latest ruling from a judge declaring that the court recognizes Freeman as a "potential heir," based on the evidence presented (per Fox News LA).