Charles Manson and his followers convicted of murder

Charles Manson and his followers convicted of murder


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In Los Angeles, California, cult leader Charles Manson is convicted, along with followers Susan Atkins, Leslie Van Houten, and Patricia Krenwinkle, of the brutal 1969 murders of actress Sharon Tate and six others.

In 1967, Manson, a lifetime criminal, was released from a federal penitentiary in Washington State and traveled to San Francisco, where he attracted a following among rebellious young women with troubled emotional lives. Manson established a cult based on his concept of “Helter Skelter”–an apocalyptic philosophy predicting that out of an imminent racial war in America would emerge five ruling angels: Manson, who would take on the role of Jesus Christ, and the four members of the Beatles. Manson convinced his followers that it would be necessary to murder celebrities in order to attract attention to the cult, and in 1969 they targeted Sharon Tate, a marginally successful actress who was married to Roman Polanski, a film director.

READ MORE: How Charles Manson Took Sick Inspiration from the Beatles' 'Helter Skelter'

On the night of August 9, 1969, with detailed instructions from Manson, four of his followers drove up to Cielo Drive above Beverly Hills and burst into Polanski and Tate’s home. (Polanski was not home and friends were staying with the pregnant Tate.) During the next few hours, they engaged in a murderous rampage that left five dead, including a very pregnant Sharon Tate, three of her friends, and an 18-year-old man who was visiting the caretaker of the estate. The next night, Manson followers murdered Leno and Rosemary LaBianca in their home in the Los Feliz section of Los Angeles; this time, Manson went along to make sure the killings were carried out correctly. The cases went unsolved for over a year before the Los Angeles Police Department discovered the Manson connection. Various members of his cult confessed, and Manson and five others were indicted on charges of murder and conspiracy to commit murder.

In January 1972, Manson and three others were found guilty, and on March 29 all four were sentenced to death. The trial of another defendant, Charles “Tex” Watson, was delayed by extradition proceedings, but he was likewise found guilty and sentenced to death. In 1972, the California Supreme Court abolished the death penalty in California, and Manson and his followers’ death sentences were reduced to life imprisonment. Manson died in prison in 2017.

READ MORE: Charles Manson Was Sentenced to Death. Why Wasn’t He Executed?


Charles Manson Case Study

As an aspiring psychologist, one of the things I like to do is study and profile notorious criminals and serial killers. In this instance, I am going to be dissecting some common questions I come across in chat rooms where conversation regarding such individuals takes place.

Charles Manson was an American cult leader. In the lat e 1960s, he formed what became known as the Manson Family, which was his cult based out of California. Manson’s followers committed nine murders in July and August 1969. In 1971 he was convicted of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder for the deaths of seven people, all of which were carried out at his instruction by members of the group. Manson was also convicted of first-degree murder for two other deaths.

There are still questions people ask regarding Charles Manson. I am going to answer the two most common ones.

Question: How was Manson able to draw people into joining “The Manson Family”?

Answer: Manson was able to create the illusion of comfort. Emotional comfort is central to the allure of cults. When a person has a longing for comfort, that person seeks out people or things that can soothe the fear and anxieties they are having. Manson was able to successfully soothe the fear and anxieties of his followers through the use of language.

Question: How did Manson utilize language to gain followers?

Answer: Manson was very good at using language to engage people. He would seek out people who felt marginalized or alienated. Manson was readily equipped to seduce his followers with feelings of acceptance and understanding.

Because he was easily able to entice his followers in that manner, what they thought about his ideologies didn’t matter. It did not matter how destructive or dangerous they were. That all got thrown out the window. His followers were no longer focused on Manson’s ideologies. What they were focused on was doing whatever they needed to do to continue to have the “acceptance” Manson presented them.

Manson was able to very successfully brainwash all of his followers into believing that his own ideologies were the only correct ones. He made it so that he did all the thinking for the entire group. Manson also made his followers think that he had their back and was there for them, even when no one else was. This same technique tends to be utilized by gangs in modern day society.

There are two pieces that make up empathy. The first one is called: Cognitive Empathy, which is the ability to understand someone’s emotions. The second one is: Emotional Empathy, which is the ability to share emotions with other people. However, these two pieces can split apart. The ability to use Cognitive Empathy and understand someone’s emotions without sharing those same emotions can be dangerous. This can underlie intimidation and of course, manipulation.

We must also keep in mind that empathetic ability is value neutral which means it can help people or hurt people, depending on what the intentions are of the person displaying it.

As I previously stated, the ability to empathize is a key component of manipulation. When a lot of people think of empathy, they think about it in a good manner. They think about someone being able to help out a hurting human being because they have also been through something similar.

But, empathy has a dark side. You can use it to get inside the victim’s brain. Once you have learned and know the inner workings of the victim’s brain, the possibilities are endless.

This is what Manson did. He was able to victoriously fake empathy and act like he empathized with his followers to gain their trust. He would then use the information given to him by his followers, and twist it around and hold it over their heads. He would do so in a manner in which the victim didn’t even realize what was happening. By the time the victim came to their senses, it was already too late and the deed was done.

To quote Charles Manson himself: “Making people do what I want is the easiest thing in the world. All it takes is making them think we have something special and everyone else is deluded. If that doesn’t work… make them think they’re not doing enough. Or threaten to take their family away. Easiest thing in the world.”

We see all throughout history that some of the most evil people were able to commit their deeds through the power of language.

For example, Adolf Hitler. Hitler was a very powerful orator. He made sure that his words were heard loud and clear. He was very good at putting together emotional statements to lure people into his trap. It worked. Over the course of years, millions upon millions of people died.

Hitler was able to brainwash an entire nation into believing that killing innocent people was the only way.

Although he promoted and committed terrible acts, Hitler was a fantastic speaker. He was very good at making the people of his nation feel empowered, even though they actually weren’t. Hitler’s people felt like they were contributing to a good cause, when in all actuality all they were really doing was fulfilling Hitler’s wants and needs.

This is similar to Charles Manson’s case because, he too, was able to make his followers feel empowered. He was able to make them think they were making their own decisions and forming their own conclusions, when they really weren’t.

Manson’s followers felt like they were fighting for a good cause because of the picture Charles was able to paint. Manson had such an infectious personality when he needed to. He was able to very easily employ charisma to achieve what his heart desired.

Charles Manson was a specialist in cognitive empathy. He was able to use this to his advantage. He knew what his followers were thinking, he just didn’t care. Consequently, he used his followers emotions against them.

Manson was able to manipulate situations to scare his followers into action through the use of fear. It didn’t bother Manson any, because he reacted to fear in a completely different manner than typical people. Fear was never fully present in Manson’s brain. Because of this, he was able to do and think the things he did.


AP Was There: Charles Manson, followers convicted of murder

LOS ANGELES -- Following a seven-month trial, Charles Manson and three of his followers were convicted of murder and conspiracy in the 1969 killings of actress Sharon Tate and six others .

The Associated Press is reprinting the following article on the verdicts to mark the anniversary of the killings. It first appeared on Jan. 26, 1971.

LOS ANGELES — Charles Manson, shaggy leader of a cult-like clan of hippie types, was convicted Monday of first-degree murder and conspiracy along with three women followers in the savage slayings of actress Sharon Tate and six others.

The state said it will ask the death penalty for all.

The defendants, who staged wild outbursts during their seven-month trial, sat passively as verdicts were returned on the 27 counts against them.

After jurors were polled, Manson muttered audibly, referring to them: "I think they're all guilty." After the verdicts were all in, he shouted at the judge: "We're still not allowed to put on a defense. You won't outlive that, old man."

The jury of seven men and five women, who had deliberated 42 hours and 40 minutes since receiving the case Jan.16, was ordered to return to court at 9 a.m. Thursday for the penalty-phase of the trial. They will continue to be sequestered.

The prosecutor said he has about 50 witnesses ready for the penalty trial. The defense has said it will put on a case as long or longer than the state's, seeking life imprisonment instead of the death penalty on the contention there still is doubt as to guilt.

Death or life imprisonment are the only possible verdicts for convictions on first-degree murder.

Under California law the same jury that returns a first-degree murder-conspiracy conviction must meet again at a second trial to fix the penalty.

Had the verdict been second-degree murder, the penalty would have been an automatic five years to life and there would have been no penalty trial.

The defendants were charged with murder-conspiracy in the August 1969 slayings of the beautiful actress and four visitors to her mansion, and in the killings a night later of a wealthy merchant couple.

Manson, 36, was accused of ordering the killings to touch off a race war he believed was heralded in a Beatles song, after which he expected to take over power.

The other defendants were Susan Atkins, 22, Patricia Krenwinkel, 23, and Leslie Van Houten, 21.

Miss Van Houten was charged with conspiracy in all the killings, but with murder only in those of market owners Leno and Rosemary LaBianca.

The defendants, banished from court Dec. 22 for shouting, filed in smiling and chatting. The women wore prison uniforms with ribbons in their long hair. Manson wore a rumpled white shirt with a blue scarf. His hair was disheveled, and he sported a new goatee.

All arose and walked out quietly after the verdicts — read one by one for each of the 27 counts — were finished. A score of sheriff's deputies was in the packed 92-seat courtroom to maintain order.

Deputy Dist. Atty. Vincent Bugliesi, the chief prosecutor, told newsmen he will seek the death penalty: "I don't enjoy it, but it is necessary."

Of the verdict, he said: "I am very, very pleased, and the Los Angeles Police Department is very happy. We expected the verdict, but until the clerk reads the verdict you don't know."

The deciding factor? "The overwhelming amount of evidence."

Chief defense counsel Paul Fitzgerald, said the defendants told him Monday night they "expected the worst." He described the verdict as anticipated.

"We lost the case when we lost our change of venue. We thought we had as much chance to win the case in Los Angeles as they had of winning the Sam Sheppard," he said, referring to a Cleveland doctor convicted in the 1960s of slaying his wife in a sensational case. The Supreme Court ultimately overturned the conviction.

Fitzgerald said the defense would argue at the penalty trial that pretrial publicity hurt the defendants. He said he will plead for a sentence of life imprisonment on grounds there is still some doubt as to guilt.

Maxwell Keith, representing Miss Van Houten, said he had felt she had a fighting chance if not for acquittal, for second-degree murder: Miss Van Houten was not a member of the killer party at the Tate home.

"She reacted a lot better than I did," he said of the verdict. "She didn't turn a hair. She seemed more solicitous of me."

Manson's attorney, Irving Kanarek, declined to comment on the verdict.

The verdict capped a trial in which the state called 84 witnesses, and the defense rested without putting on a case. The transcript ran nearly 6 million words, and there were 297 exhibits.

The prosecutor in final arguments called the killings "monstrous, macabre and nightmarish . perhaps the most inhuman horror-filled hour of savage murder and human slaughter in the annals of recorded crime."

He called Manson "someone with a sick and morbid lust and preoccupation with death." The women, he said, were Manson's "robots and zombies."

The defense argued that someone other than the defendants might have done the killings. Attorneys said Manson was being prosecuted for his unpopular lifestyle, and that if the women were really robots, they couldn't perform the premeditation needed for first-degree murder.

The case first made headlines Aug. 10, 1969, when a maid found the bloody bodies of victims at the Tate estate.

The eight-months-pregnant honey blond actress, 25, wife of director Roman Polanski, lay stabbed on the living room floor near the body of Jay Sebring, 26, Hollywood hairstylist and her onetime fiancé.

Outside were the bodies of Polish playboy Wojciech Frykowski, 37, and his girlfriend, coffee heiress Abigail Folger, 26. Slain in his car was Stephen Parent, 18, shot as he left after visiting the caretaker.

"PIG" was smeared in blood on the door. A towel "hood" covered Sebring's head. Police called the slayings "ritualistic."

The next day, a few miles away, the LaBiancas were found stabbed to death amid bloody scrawlings.

For four months police were baffled. Then, acting on a tip from a woman who said Miss Atkins told of the killings while the two shared a jail cell, police made mass arrests of Manson and his family, then living in a remote commune near Death Valley.

Manson, only 5 feet 6 but with what his followers called near-hypnotic powers, quickly emerged as the central figure. The son of a prostitute and habitué of prisons and institutions most of his life, he had formed his "family" in San Francisco's hippie district and come to the Hollywood area to seek a singing career. Family members called him "God" and "Jesus" and "Satan".

A onetime clan member, Linda Kasabian, star state witness at the trial, said Manson sent out two killer parties to the Tate and LaBianca homes, ordering the second set of killings because the first were "too messy."

Mrs. Kasabian, granted immunity from prosecution for her story, said Manson went along himself on the LaBianca trip but left before the actual killings. In 19 days on the stand, she told of seeing two killings and of hearing screams of other victims.

In Milford, New Hampshire, Mrs. Kasabian said of the verdict: "I'm not surprised, but my heart really grieves for them."

Other witnesses said Miss Atkins admitted killing Miss Tate after the latter pleaded to live and have her baby, then tasting her blood and finding it "beautiful."

Witnesses said Miss Krenwinkel complained that her hand hurt after the Tate killings because she had stabbed so much, and that Miss Van Houten repeatedly stabbed a body that was already dead, and enjoyed it.

When the defense's turn came, attorneys surprised the court by resting. They said that if the women defendants were allowed to testify, they would tell stories that would incriminate themselves and clear Manson. The attorney said they would not allow this.

Manson testified in the jury's absence and said he'd killed no one and ordered no one killed.

In a rumbling discourse he explained his lifestyle and said of women: "These children who come at you with knives, they're your children. I didn't teach them. You did."

He told the women not to testify and declined to repeat his story for jurors.

Trial highlights included frequent shouts and songs from defendants that got them banished to nearby detention rooms, where they listened via loudspeaker. Manson lunged once at the judge. Attorneys were jailed for contempt. One attorney vanished on a camping trip and had to be replaced.

Through it all, a band of loyal Manson clan women maintained a vigil in the street outside the Hall of Justice, waiting for their "father" to be freed from "the tower."

Manson and Miss Atkins still face murder charges in the 1969 killing of Malibu musician Gary Hinman. Manson also is charged with murdering Donald "Shorty" Shea, a hand who vanished from the clan's movie ranch commune. His body has not been found.


The lesson of the Manson ‘family’

Many of the Manson followers went to prison for their crimes, and some felt tremendous guilt later about their actions. But what is really frightening is how it is all too easy to be duped and sucked into believing that your life is dependent on an amazing leader with such wonderful insights who in reality is a murderous psychopath. Followers forget who they really are, their other interests, family and friends and do terrible things for the cause and leader they love.

The lessons from the Manson “family” are a warning to us all: question everything, think critically and don’t believe that any single person has all the answers. Be wary of charisma and charm and people who are devoted to a messiah-like leader because while it is great to believe in big beautiful ideas it can also be the road to cult slavery and servitude.

Manson’s lasting legacy is hopefully that people will increasingly see through such cult leaders quicker and avoid them more easily than the followers who devoted their lives and murdered others to prove themselves as true devotees.


Contents

Childhood

Charles Manson was born on November 12, 1934, to 16-year-old Kathleen Manson-Bower-Cavender, [8] née Maddox (1918–1973), [9] in the University of Cincinnati Academic Health Center in Cincinnati, Ohio. He was first named "no name Maddox". [10] [ page needed ] [11] [12] Within weeks, he was called Charles Milles Maddox. [13] [14]

Manson's biological father appears to have been Colonel Walker Henderson Scott Sr. (1910–1954) [15] of Catlettsburg, Kentucky, against whom Kathleen Maddox filed a paternity suit that resulted in an agreed judgment in 1937. Manson may never have known his biological father. [10] [ page needed ] [12] Scott worked intermittently in local mills, and had a local reputation as a con artist. He allowed Maddox to believe that he was an army colonel, although "Colonel" was merely his given name. When Maddox told Scott that she was pregnant, he told her he had been called away on army business after several months she realized he had no intention of returning. [16]

In August 1934, before Manson's birth, Maddox married William Eugene Manson (1909–1961), a "laborer" at a dry cleaning business. Maddox often went on drinking sprees with her brother Luther, leaving Charles with multiple babysitters. They divorced on April 30, 1937, after William alleged "gross neglect of duty" by Maddox. Charles retained William's last name, Manson. [17] On August 1, 1939, Luther and Kathleen Maddox were arrested for assault and robbery. Kathleen and Luther were sentenced to five and ten years of imprisonment, respectively. [18]

Manson was placed in the home of an aunt and uncle in McMechen, West Virginia. [19] His mother was paroled in 1942. Manson later characterized the first weeks after she returned from prison as the happiest time in his life. [20] Weeks after Maddox's release, Manson's family moved to Charleston, West Virginia, [21] where Manson continually played truant and his mother spent her evenings drinking. [22] She was arrested for grand larceny, but not convicted. [23] The family later moved to Indianapolis, where Maddox met an alcoholic named Lewis (no first name) through Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, and married him in August 1943. [22]

First offenses

In an interview with Diane Sawyer, Manson said that when he was nine, he set his school on fire. [24] Manson also got in trouble for truancy and petty theft. Although there were a lack of foster home placements, in 1947, at the age of 13, Manson was placed in the Gibault School for Boys in Terre Haute, Indiana, a school for male delinquents run by Catholic priests. [25] Gibault was a strict school, where punishment for even the tiniest infraction included beatings with either a wooden paddle or a leather strap. Manson ran away from Gibault and slept in the woods, under bridges, and wherever else he could find shelter. [26]

Manson fled home to his mother, and spent Christmas 1947 in McMechen, at his aunt and uncle's house. [27] His mother returned him to Gibault. Ten months later, he ran away to Indianapolis. [28] In 1948, in Indianapolis, Manson committed his first known crime by robbing a grocery store. At first the robbery was simply to find something to eat. However, Manson found a cigar box containing just over a hundred dollars, and he took the money. He used the money to rent a room on Indianapolis's Skid Row and to buy food. [29]

For a time, Manson tried to go straight by getting a job delivering messages for Western Union. However, he quickly began to supplement his wages through petty theft. [26] He was eventually caught, and in 1949 a sympathetic judge sent him to Boys Town, a juvenile facility in Omaha, Nebraska. [30] After four days at Boys Town, he and fellow student Blackie Nielson obtained a gun and stole a car. They used it to commit two armed robberies on their way to the home of Nielson's uncle in Peoria, Illinois. [31] [32] Nielson's uncle was a professional thief, and when the boys arrived he allegedly took them on as apprentices. [25] Manson was arrested two weeks later during a nighttime raid on a Peoria store. In the investigation that followed, he was linked to his two earlier armed robberies. He was sent to the Indiana Boys School, a strict reform school. [33]

At the school, other students allegedly raped Manson with the encouragement of a staff member, and he was repeatedly beaten. He ran away from the school eighteen times. [30] While at the school, Manson developed a self-defense technique he later called the "insane game". When he was physically unable to defend himself, he would screech, grimace and wave his arms to convince aggressors that he was insane. After a number of failed attempts, he escaped with two other boys in February 1951. [34] [32] The three escapees were robbing filling stations while attempting to drive to California in stolen cars when they were arrested in Utah. For the federal crime of driving a stolen car across state lines, Manson was sent to Washington, D.C.'s National Training School for Boys. [35] On arrival he was given aptitude tests which determined that he was illiterate, but had an above-average IQ of 109. His case worker deemed him aggressively antisocial. [34] [32]

First imprisonment

On a psychiatrist's recommendation, Manson was transferred in October 1951 to Natural Bridge Honor Camp, a minimum security institution. [32] His aunt visited him and told administrators she would let him stay at her house and would help him find work. Manson had a parole hearing scheduled for February 1952. However, in January, he was caught raping a boy at knifepoint. Manson was transferred to the Federal Reformatory in Petersburg, Virginia. There he committed a further "eight serious disciplinary offenses, three involving homosexual acts". He was then moved to a maximum security reformatory at Chillicothe, Ohio, where he was expected to remain until his release on his 21st birthday in November 1955. Good behavior led to an early release in May 1954, to live with his aunt and uncle in McMechen. [36]

In January 1955, Manson married a hospital waitress named Rosalie Jean Willis. [37] [ page needed ] Around October, about three months after he and his pregnant wife arrived in Los Angeles in a car he had stolen in Ohio, Manson was again charged with a federal crime for taking the vehicle across state lines. After a psychiatric evaluation, he was given five years' probation. Manson's failure to appear at a Los Angeles hearing on an identical charge filed in Florida resulted in his March 1956 arrest in Indianapolis. His probation was revoked he was sentenced to three years' imprisonment at Terminal Island, San Pedro, California. [32]

While Manson was in prison, Rosalie gave birth to their son Charles Manson Jr. During his first year at Terminal Island, Manson received visits from Rosalie and his mother, who were now living together in Los Angeles. In March 1957, when the visits from his wife ceased, his mother informed him Rosalie was living with another man. Less than two weeks before a scheduled parole hearing, Manson tried to escape by stealing a car. He was given five years' probation and his parole was denied. [32]

Second imprisonment

Manson received five years' parole in September 1958, the same year in which Rosalie received a decree of divorce. By November, he was pimping a 16-year-old girl and was receiving additional support from a girl with wealthy parents. In September 1959, he pleaded guilty to a charge of attempting to cash a forged U.S. Treasury check, which he claimed to have stolen from a mailbox the latter charge was later dropped. He received a 10-year suspended sentence and probation after a young woman named Leona, who had an arrest record for prostitution, made a "tearful plea" before the court that she and Manson were "deeply in love . and would marry if Charlie were freed". [32] Before the year's end, the woman did marry Manson, possibly so she would not be required to testify against him. [32]

Manson took Leona and another woman to New Mexico for purposes of prostitution, resulting in him being held and questioned for violating the Mann Act. Though he was released, Manson correctly suspected that the investigation had not ended. When he disappeared in violation of his probation, a bench warrant was issued. An indictment for violation of the Mann Act followed in April 1960. [32] Following the arrest of one of the women for prostitution, Manson was arrested in June in Laredo, Texas, and was returned to Los Angeles. For violating his probation on the check-cashing charge, he was ordered to serve his ten-year sentence. [32]

Manson spent a year trying unsuccessfully to appeal the revocation of his probation. In July 1961, he was transferred from the Los Angeles County Jail to the United States Penitentiary at McNeil Island, Washington. There, he took guitar lessons from Barker–Karpis gang leader Alvin "Creepy" Karpis, and obtained from another inmate a contact name of someone at Universal Studios in Hollywood, Phil Kaufman. [38] According to Jeff Guinn's 2013 biography of Manson, his mother moved to Washington State to be closer to him during his McNeil Island incarceration, working nearby as a waitress. [39]

Although the Mann Act charge had been dropped, the attempt to cash the Treasury check was still a federal offense. Manson's September 1961 annual review noted he had a "tremendous drive to call attention to himself", an observation echoed in September 1964. [32] In 1963, Leona was granted a divorce. During the process she alleged that she and Manson had a son, Charles Luther. [32] According to a popular urban legend, Manson auditioned unsuccessfully for the Monkees in late 1965 this is refuted by the fact that Manson was still incarcerated at McNeil Island at that time. [40]

In June 1966, Manson was sent for the second time to Terminal Island in preparation for early release. By the time of his release day on March 21, 1967, he had spent more than half of his 32 years in prisons and other institutions. This was mainly because he had broken federal laws. Federal sentences were, and remain, much more severe than state sentences for many of the same offenses. Telling the authorities that prison had become his home, he requested permission to stay. [32]

Cult formation

After being discharged from prison in 1967, Manson began attracting a group of followers, mostly young women, from around California. They were later known as the Manson Family. [41] The core members of Manson's group following included: Charles 'Tex' Watson, a musician and former actor Robert Beausoleil, a former musician and pornographic actor Mary Brunner, previously a librarian Susan Atkins Linda Kasabian Patricia Krenwinkel and Leslie Van Houten. [42] [43] [44]

Murders

The Manson Family developed into a doomsday cult when Manson became fixated on the idea of an imminent apocalyptic race war between America's black population and the larger white population. A white supremacist, [45] [46] Manson believed that black people in America would rise up and kill all whites except for Manson and his "Family", but that they were not intelligent enough to survive on their own they would need a white man to lead them, and so they would serve Manson as their "master". [47] [48] Late in 1968, Manson adopted the term "Helter Skelter", taken from a song on the Beatles' recently released White Album, to refer to this upcoming war. [49]

In early August 1969, Manson encouraged his followers to start Helter Skelter, by committing murders in Los Angeles and making it appear to be racially motivated. The Manson Family gained national notoriety after the murder of actress Sharon Tate and four others in her home on August 8 and 9, 1969, [50] and Leno and Rosemary LaBianca the next day. Tex Watson and three other members of the Family executed the Tate–LaBianca murders, allegedly acting under Manson's instructions. [51] [52] While it was later accepted at trial that Manson never expressly ordered the murders, his behavior was deemed to warrant a conviction of first degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder. Evidence pointed to Manson's obsession with inciting a race war by killing those he thought were "pigs" and his belief that this would show the "nigger" how to do the same. [4] Family members were also responsible for other assaults, thefts, crimes, and the attempted assassination of President Gerald Ford in Sacramento by Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme. [53]

While it is often thought that Manson never murdered or attempted to murder anyone himself, true crime writer James Buddy Day, in his book Hippie Cult Leader: The Last Words of Charles Manson, claimed that Manson shot drug dealer Bernard Crowe on July 1, 1969. [54] Crowe survived. [55]

Trial

The State of California tried Manson for the Tate and LaBianca murders with co-defendants, Leslie Van Houten, Susan Atkins, and Patricia Krenwinkel. Co-defendant Tex Watson was tried at a later date after being extradited from Texas. [56]

The trial began on July 15, 1970. Manson appeared wearing fringed buckskins, his typical clothing at Spahn Ranch. [57]

On July 24, 1970 — the first day of testimony — Manson appeared in court with an "X" carved into his forehead. His followers issued a statement from Manson saying "I have "X'd myself from your world". [58] The following day, Manson's co-defendants, Van Houten, Atkins, and Krenwinkel, also appeared in court, with an "X" carved in their foreheads. [59] [60]

Members of the Manson Family camped outside of the courthouse, and held a vigil on a street corner, because they were excluded from the courtroom for being disruptive. Some of Manson's followers also carved crosses into their heads. [58] During the trial, members of the Manson Family appeared in saffron robes, and threatened to immolate themselves if Manson was convicted – just as nuns in Vietnam had done in protest of the war. [57] [61]

The State presented dozens of witnesses during the trial. However, its primary witness was Linda Kasabian, who was present during the Tate murders on August 8–9, 1969. Kasabian provided graphic testimony of the Tate murders, which she observed from outside the house. She was also in the car with Manson on the following evening, when he ordered the LaBianca killings. Kasabian spent days on the witness stand, being cross-examined by the defendants' lawyers. After testifying, Kasabian went into hiding for the next forty years. [10] [ page needed ]

In early August 1970, President Richard Nixon told reporters that he believed that Manson was guilty of the murders, "either directly or indirectly". [62] Manson obtained a copy of the newspaper and held up the headline to the jury. [10] [ page needed ] The defendants' attorneys then called for a mistrial, arguing that their clients had allegedly killed far fewer people than "Nixon's war machine in Vietnam". [62] Judge Charles H. Older polled each member of the jury, to determine whether each juror saw the headline and whether it affected his or her ability to make an independent decision. All of the jurors affirmed that they could still decide independently. [10] [ page needed ] Shortly after, the female defendants – Atkins, Krenwinkel and Van Houten – were removed from the room for chanting, "Nixon says we are guilty. So why go on?" [10] [ page needed ]

On October 5, 1970, Manson attempted to attack Judge Older while the jury was present in the room. Manson first threatened Older, and then jumped over his lawyer's table with a sharpened pencil, in the direction of Older. Manson was restrained before reaching the judge. While being led out of the courtroom, Manson screamed at Older, "In the name of Christian justice, someone should cut your head off!" Meanwhile, the female defendants began chanting something in Latin. Judge Older began wearing a .38 caliber pistol to the trial afterwards. [63]

On November 16, 1970, the State of California rested its case after presenting twenty-two weeks worth of evidence. The defendants then stunned the courtroom by announcing that they had no witnesses to present, and rested their case. [64]

Manson's testimony

Immediately after defendants' counsel rested their case, the three female defendants shouted that they wanted to testify. Their attorneys advised the court, in chambers, that they opposed their clients testifying. Apparently, the female defendants wanted to testify that Manson had had nothing to do with the murders. [65]

The following day, Manson himself announced that he too wanted to testify. The judge allowed Manson to testify outside the presence of the jury. He stated as follows:

These children that come at you with knives, they are your children. You taught them. I didn't teach them. I just tried to help them stand up. Most of the people at the ranch that you call the Family were just people that you did not want. [65]

Manson continued, equating his actions to those of society at large:

I know this: that in your hearts and your souls, you are as much responsible for the Vietnam war as I am for killing these people. . I can't judge any of you. I have no malice against you and no ribbons for you. But I think that it is high time that you all start looking at yourselves, and judging the lie that you live in. [66]

Manson concluded, claiming that he too was a creation of a system that he viewed as fundamentally violent and unjust:

My father is the jailhouse. My father is your system. . I am only what you made me. I am only a reflection of you. . You want to kill me? Ha! I am already dead – have been all my life. I've spent twenty-three years in tombs that you have built. [66]

After Manson finished speaking, Judge Older offered to let him testify before the jury. Manson replied that it was not necessary. Manson then told the female defendants that they no longer needed to testify. [67]

On November 30, 1970, Leslie Van Houten's attorney, Ronald Hughes, failed to appear for the closing arguments in the trial. [67] He was later found dead in a California state park. His body was badly decomposed, and it was impossible to tell the cause of death. Hughes had disagreed with Manson during the trial, taking the position that his client, Van Houten, should not testify to claim that Manson had no involvement with the murders. Some have alleged that Hughes may have been murdered by the Manson Family. [68]

On January 25, 1971, the jury found Manson, Krenwinkel and Atkins guilty of first degree murder in all seven of the Tate and LaBianca killings. The jury found Van Houten guilty of murder in the first degree in the LaBianca killings. [69]

Sentencing

After the convictions, the court held a separate hearing before the same jury to determine if the defendants should receive the death sentence.

Each of the three female defendants – Atkins, Van Houten, and Krenwinkel – took the stand. They provided graphic details of the murders and testified that Manson was not involved. According to the female defendants, they had committed the crimes in order to help fellow Manson Family member Bobby Beausoleil get out of jail, where he was being held for the murder of Gary Hinman. The female defendants testified that the Tate-LaBianca murders were intended to be copycat crimes, similar to the Hinman killing. Atkins, Krenwinkel and Van Houten claimed they did this under the direction of the state's prime witness, Linda Kasabian. The defendants did not express remorse for the killings. [70]

On March 4, 1971, during the sentencing hearings, Manson trimmed his beard to a fork and shaved his head, telling the media, "I am the Devil, and the Devil always has a bald head!" However, the female defendants did not immediately shave their own heads. The state prosecutor, Vincent Bugliosi, later speculated in his book, Helter Skelter, that they refrained from doing so, in order to not appear to be completely controlled by Manson (as they had when they each carved an "X" in their foreheads, earlier in the trial). [71]

On March 29, 1971, the jury sentenced all four defendants to death. When the female defendants were led into the courtroom, each of them had shaved their heads, as had Manson. After hearing the sentence, Atkins shouted to the jury, "Better lock your doors and watch your kids." [72]

The Manson murder trial was the longest murder trial in American history when it occurred, lasting nine and a half months. The trial was among the most publicized American criminal cases of the twentieth century and was dubbed the "trial of the century". The jury had been sequestered for 225 days, longer than any jury before it. The trial transcript alone ran to 209 volumes or 31,716 pages. [72]

Post-trial events

Manson was admitted to state prison from Los Angeles County on April 22, 1971, for seven counts of first-degree murder and one count of conspiracy to commit murder for the deaths of Abigail Ann Folger, Wojciech Frykowski, Steven Earl Parent, Sharon Tate Polanski, Jay Sebring, and Leno and Rosemary LaBianca. As the death penalty was ruled unconstitutional in 1972, Manson was re-sentenced to life with the possibility of parole. His initial death sentence was modified to life on February 2, 1977.

On December 13, 1971, Manson was convicted of first-degree murder in Los Angeles County Court for the July 25, 1969 death of musician Gary Hinman. He was also convicted of first-degree murder for the August 1969 death of Donald Jerome "Shorty" Shea. Following the 1972 decision of California v. Anderson, California's death sentences were ruled unconstitutional and that "any prisoner now under a sentence of death . may file a petition for writ of habeas corpus in the superior court inviting that court to modify its judgment to provide for the appropriate alternative punishment of life imprisonment or life imprisonment without possibility of parole specified by statute for the crime for which he was sentenced to death." [73] Manson was thus eligible to apply for parole after seven years' incarceration. [74] His first parole hearing took place on November 16, 1978, at California Medical Facility in Vacaville, where his petition was rejected. [75] [76]

1980s–1990s

In the 1980s, Manson gave four interviews to the mainstream media. The first, recorded at California Medical Facility and aired on June 13, 1981, was by Tom Snyder for NBC's The Tomorrow Show. The second, recorded at San Quentin State Prison and aired on March 7, 1986, was by Charlie Rose for CBS News Nightwatch, and it won the national news Emmy Award for Best Interview in 1987. [77] The third, with Geraldo Rivera in 1988, was part of the journalist's prime-time special on Satanism. [78] At least as early as the Snyder interview, Manson's forehead bore a swastika in the spot where the X carved during his trial had been. [79]

Nikolas Schreck conducted an interview with Manson for his documentary Charles Manson Superstar (1989). Schreck concluded that Manson was not insane but merely acting that way out of frustration. [80] [81]

On September 25, 1984, Manson was imprisoned in the California Medical Facility at Vacaville when inmate Jan Holmstrom poured paint thinner on him and set him on fire, causing second and third degree burns on over 20 percent of his body. Holmstrom explained that Manson had objected to his Hare Krishna chants and verbally threatened him. [75] [ failed verification ]

After 1989, Manson was housed in the Protective Housing Unit at California State Prison, Corcoran, in Kings County. The unit housed inmates whose safety would be endangered by general-population housing. He had also been housed at San Quentin State Prison, [77] California Medical Facility in Vacaville, [75] [ failed verification ] Folsom State Prison and Pelican Bay State Prison. [82] [ citation needed ] In June 1997, a prison disciplinary committee found that Manson had been trafficking drugs. [82] He was moved from Corcoran State Prison to Pelican Bay State Prison a month later. [82]

2000s–2017

On September 5, 2007, MSNBC aired The Mind of Manson, a complete version of a 1987 interview at California's San Quentin State Prison. The footage of the "unshackled, unapologetic, and unruly" Manson had been considered "so unbelievable" that only seven minutes of it had originally been broadcast on Today, for which it had been recorded. [83]

In March 2009, a photograph of Manson showing a receding hairline, grizzled gray beard and hair, and the swastika tattoo still prominent on his forehead was released to the public by California corrections officials. [84]

In 2010, the Los Angeles Times reported that Manson was caught with a cell phone in 2009 and had contacted people in California, New Jersey, Florida and British Columbia. A spokesperson for the California Department of Corrections stated that it was not known if Manson had used the phone for criminal purposes. [85] Manson also recorded an album of acoustic pop songs with additional production by Henry Rollins, titled Completion. Only five copies were pressed: two belong to Rollins, while the other three are presumed to have been with Manson. The album remains unreleased. [86]

On January 1, 2017, Manson was suffering from gastrointestinal bleeding at California State Prison in Corcoran when he was rushed to Mercy Hospital in downtown Bakersfield. A source told the Los Angeles Times that Manson was seriously ill, [87] and TMZ reported that his doctors considered him "too weak" for surgery. [88] He was returned to prison on January 6, and the nature of his treatment was not disclosed. [89] On November 15, 2017, an unauthorized source said that Manson had returned to a hospital in Bakersfield, [90] but the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation did not confirm this in conformity with state and federal medical privacy laws. [91] He died from cardiac arrest resulting from respiratory failure and colon cancer at the hospital on November 19. [2] [92] [93]

Three people stated their intention to claim Manson's estate and body. [94] [95] [96] Manson's grandson Jason Freeman stated his intent to take possession of Manson's remains and personal effects. [97] Manson's pen-pal Michael Channels claimed to have a Manson will dated February 14, 2002, which left Manson's entire estate and Manson's body to Channels. [98] [99] Manson's friend Ben Gurecki claimed to have a Manson will dated January 2017 which gives the estate and Manson's body to Matthew Roberts, another alleged son of Manson. [94] [95] In 2012, CNN ran a DNA match to see if Freeman and Roberts were related to each other and found that they were not. According to CNN, two prior attempts to DNA match Roberts with genetic material from Manson failed, but the results were reportedly contaminated. [100] On March 12, 2018, the Kern County Superior Court in California decided in favor of Freeman in regard to Manson's body. Freeman had Manson cremated on March 20, 2018. [101] As of February 7, 2020, Channels and Freeman still had petitions to California courts attempting to establish the heir of Manson's estate. At that time, Channels was attempting to force Freeman to submit DNA to the court for testing. [102]

Involvement with Scientology

Manson began studying Scientology while incarcerated with the help of fellow inmate Lanier Rayner, and in July 1961, Manson listed his religion as Scientology. [103] A September 1961 prison report argues that Manson "appears to have developed a certain amount of insight into his problems through his study of this discipline". [104] Upon his release in 1967, Manson traveled to Los Angeles where he reportedly "met local Scientologists and attended several parties for movie stars". [105] [106] [107] Manson completed 150 hours of auditing. [108] Manson's "right hand man", Bruce M. Davis, worked at the Church of Scientology headquarters in London from November 1968 to April 1969." [109]

Relationships and alleged child

In 2009, Los Angeles disk jockey Matthew Roberts released correspondence and other evidence indicating that he might be Manson's biological son. Roberts' biological mother claims that she was a member of the Manson Family who left in mid-1967 after being raped by Manson she returned to her parents' home to complete the pregnancy, gave birth on March 22, 1968, and put Roberts up for adoption. CNN conducted a DNA test between Matthew Roberts and Manson's known biological grandson Jason Freeman in 2012, showing that Roberts and Freeman did not share DNA. [100] Roberts subsequently attempted to establish that Manson was his father through a direct DNA test which proved definitively that Roberts and Manson were not related. [110]

In 2014, it was announced [ by whom? ] that the imprisoned Manson was engaged to 26-year-old Afton Elaine Burton and had obtained a marriage license on November 7. [111] Manson gave Burton the nickname "Star". She had been visiting him in prison for at least nine years and maintained several websites that proclaimed his innocence. [112] The wedding license expired on February 5, 2015, without a marriage ceremony taking place. [113] Journalist Daniel Simone reported that the wedding was cancelled after Manson discovered that Burton only wanted to marry him so that she and friend Craig Hammond could use his corpse as a tourist attraction after his death. [113] [114] According to Simone, Manson believed that he would never die and may simply have used the possibility of marriage as a way to encourage Burton and Hammond to continue visiting him and bringing him gifts. Burton said on her website that the reason that the marriage did not take place was merely logistical. Manson was suffering from an infection and had been in a prison medical facility for two months and could not receive visitors. She said that she still hoped that the marriage license would be renewed and the marriage would take place. [113]

Psychology

On April 11, 2012, Manson was denied release at his 12th parole hearing, which he did not attend. After his March 27, 1997, parole hearing, Manson refused to attend any of his later hearings. The panel at that hearing noted that Manson had a "history of controlling behavior" and "mental health issues" including schizophrenia and paranoid delusional disorder, and was too great a danger to be released. [115] The panel also noted that Manson had received 108 rules violation reports, had no indication of remorse, no insight into the causative factors of the crimes, lacked understanding of the magnitude of the crimes, had an exceptional, callous disregard for human suffering and had no parole plans. [116] At the April 11, 2012, parole hearing, it was determined that Manson would not be reconsidered for parole for another 15 years, i.e. not before 2027, at which time he would have been 92 years old. [117]

Cultural impact

Beginning in January 1970, the left-wing newspapers Los Angeles Free Press and Tuesday's Child embraced Manson as a hero-figure, and Tuesday's Child proclaimed him "Man of the Year". In June 1970, Rolling Stone made him their cover story in "Charles Manson: The Incredible Story of the Most Dangerous Man Alive". [118] A Rolling Stone writer visited the Los Angeles District Attorney's office while preparing that story, [119] and he was shocked by a photograph of the "Healter [sic] Skelter" that Manson's disciples had written on a wall in their victim's blood. [120] Prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi pointed out the dispute in the underground press over whether Manson was "Christ returned" or "a sick symbol of our times". [ citation needed ]

Bernardine Dohrn of the Weather Underground reportedly said of the Tate murders: "Dig it, first they killed those pigs, then they ate dinner in the same room with them, then they even shoved a fork into a victim's stomach. Wild!" [121] Neo-Nazi and Manson follower James Mason founded the Universal Order, a group that has influenced other movements such as the neo-Nazi terrorist group the Atomwaffen Division. The Universal Order's name and logo is a swastika between the scales of justice, remotely designed by Manson. [ clarification needed ] Bugliosi quoted a BBC employee's assertion that a "neo-Manson cult" existed in Europe, represented by approximately 70 rock bands playing songs by Manson and "songs in support of him". [74]

Music

Manson was a struggling musician, seeking to make it big in Hollywood between 1967 and 1969. The Beach Boys did a cover of one of his songs. Other songs were publicly released only after the trial for the Tate murders started. On March 6, 1970, LIE, an album of Manson music, was released. [122] [123] [124] [125] This included "Cease to Exist", a Manson composition the Beach Boys had recorded with modified lyrics and the title "Never Learn Not to Love". [126] [127] Over the next couple of months only about 300 of the album's 2,000 copies sold. [128]

There have been several other releases of Manson recordings – both musical and spoken. One of these, The Family Jams, includes two compact discs of Manson's songs recorded by the Family in 1970, after Manson and the others had been arrested. Guitar and lead vocals are supplied by Steve Grogan [129] [ failed verification ] additional vocals are supplied by Lynette Fromme, Sandra Good, Catherine Share, and others. [ citation needed ] One Mind, an album of music, poetry, and spoken word, new at the time of its release, in April 2005, was put out under a Creative Commons license. [130] [131]

American rock band Guns N' Roses recorded Manson's "Look at Your Game, Girl", included as an unlisted 13th track on their 1993 album "The Spaghetti Incident?" [74] [ failed verification ] [132] [133] "My Monkey", which appears on Portrait of an American Family by the American rock band Marilyn Manson, includes the lyrics "I had a little monkey / I sent him to the country and I fed him on gingerbread / Along came a choo-choo / Knocked my monkey cuckoo / And now my monkey's dead." These lyrics are from Manson's "Mechanical Man", [134] which is heard on LIE. Crispin Glover covered "Never Say 'Never' to Always" on his album The Big Problem ≠ The Solution. The Solution=Let It Be released in 1989.

Musical performers such as Kasabian, [135] Spahn Ranch, [136] and Marilyn Manson [137] derived their names from Manson and his lore.


Op-Ed: The human side of Charlie Manson

Charles Manson died on Sunday night after being admitted to a hospital in Bakersfield on Wednesday. The infamous cult leader, who was convicted along with three of his followers in 1971 of the murders of actress Sharon Tate and six others, was 83 years old.

How do we assess Manson? If early reports are any indication, it is with the same lack of nuance, the same hyperbole on which we’ve long relied. The Associated Press described him on Thursday as “a demonic presence,” “the living embodiment of evil” and quoted former special correspondent Linda Deutsch, who covered his trial: “In addition to killing seven people, he killed a whole counterculture.”

The temptation to see Manson in apocalyptic terms is understandable. In her 1978 essay “The White Album,” Joan Didion wrote, “On August 9, 1969, I was sitting in the shallow end of my sister-in-law’s swimming pool in Beverly Hills when she received a phone call from a friend who had just heard about the murders at Sharon Tate Polanski’s house on Cielo Drive. … There were twenty dead, no, twelve, ten, eighteen. Black masses were imagined, and bad trips blamed.”

Charles Manson was no devil but a human being, as his death makes clear.

In a nation now grappling with mass killings one after another, the actual number of Manson’s victims seems almost minimal, even quaint. But it’s worth remembering the terror stirred by the murders, the chaos they implied. Tate was 8½ months pregnant when she died the killers wrote “Pig” across the front door in her blood. The following night, the Manson family killed Leno and Rosemary LaBianca at their home in Los Feliz, scrawling “Healter Skelter” (sic) on the refrigerator, also using the victims’ blood.

I was a child on the other side of the country, and I recall my own fear in the wake of the killings, the disturbing satanic details, the violation of the safety of home. That my children now take such realities for granted suggests something of how desensitized we as a culture have become.

Manson, though, was no devil but a human being, as his death makes clear. I don’t say that to soften or absolve him. But I don’t believe in demons people are frightening enough. Indeed, to accept Manson as a person, to see him through the filter of his humanity, is to acknowledge what we resist: that he was perhaps not so utterly different from the rest of us.

Manson’s history was horrific his mother did time in prison for armed robbery when he was young and he lived with relatives who tormented him in the name of making him tough. In the 2013 biography “Manson: The Life and Times of Charles Manson,” Jeff Guinn traced one such incident, in which his uncle made him go to first grade in a dress as punishment for having cried in class.

A quarter-century later, after his release from the federal penitentiary at Terminal Island in San Pedro, Manson moved to San Francisco and began to collect the drifters and young women who would become his so-called family.

One of Manson’s inspirations was Dale Carnegie, whose 1936 book “How to Win Friends and Influence People” offered him tips on manipulating others to his ends. Among his successful strategies? Convincing his acolytes to commit the murders he planned, then claiming innocence since he did not actually kill anyone.

This is, of course, horrific, venal — and recognizably human at the same time. Just look at the news evasion of responsibility is our new national pastime. You might say Manson was ahead of his time, spinning out a series of false narratives about race war and his own messianic status that ensnared his followers.

Although much has been made of his efforts to join the Southern California music scene (he befriended Beach Boy Dennis Wilson, among others), it’s a stretch to suggest Manson’s turn to murder was a reaction to his failed rock star fantasies.


Manson created a cult around himself called the "Family" that he hoped to use to bring about Armageddon through a race war. He named this scenario "Helter Skelter," after the 1968 Beatles song of the same name.

Manson believed that once African-Americans rose up against white people in an end-of-times race war, he and his Family, which consisted mostly of women, would be the only ones left standing at its conclusion.

The Family sought to quicken this apocalyptic timeline by carrying out prominent murders of celebrities and pinning them on African-Americans so that people would take notice.

Manson compelled his followers to believe him by exhibiting many qualities common to gurus and spiritual leaders around the world, and also used LSD to influence their thinking.


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In the years that would follow, Lake became more loyal to Manson, even as he grew more violent in the days leading up to the murderous rampage that members of his cult went on in 1969.

Lake did not take part in the two-day summer murder spree in which Manson and members of his cult killed seven people, including pregnant actress Sharon Tate, Abigail Folger, Wojciech Frykowski, Leno and Rosemary LaBianca, Steven Parent and Jay Sebring.

She was arrested along with the other cult members at Barker Ranch in 1969 but maintained throughout police interviews that she knew nothing of the murders.

Lake did not take part in the two-day murder spree in which Manson and members of his cult killed seven people, including film director Roman Polanski's pregnant wife Sharon Tate (above with the director in 1968)

Lake said she couldn't understand why the women who she previously considered friends from the Manson family - Susan Atkins, Patricia Krenwinkle and Leslie van Houton (above) had stood by the murderer during the trial

She went on to provide the district attorney with incriminating evidence and testimony against them.

In 1970, Lake was institutionalized for schizophrenia which doctors said was caused by emotional trauma.

When she later faced Manson in court, his defense attorney asked her: 'Are you still in love with Mr. Manson now?' She responded: 'I guess so' as she looked at the man who she had a deep relationship in the years prior.

Manson blurted out: 'You loved everybody. Don't put it all on Mr Manson.'

The court room burst into laughter at Manson's statement.

Lake penned this book 'Member of the Family' out October 24 on her time with the madman

Recalling the incident in her book, Lake said: 'I hadn't seen it before, how he could truly work a room. This man didn't mean to be funny. he was deflecting responsibility from himself by humiliating me and dismissing my value as a human being,' she said.

She said that was the moment she realized he was a 'scruffy little man with an enormous ego'.

'He was a fake, a fraud, a pimp, and a con artist. And now I was truly free of him,' she said.

She also said she could not understand why Patricia Krenwinkle, Leslie van Houton and Susan Atkins stood by Manson.

All three famously carved X's on their foreheads.

'The girls with the Xs on their foreheads? That part always blew me away,' Lake said. 'They continued to hang on, be groupies.'

After the trial concluded and Manson was convicted on first degree murder charges, Lake said she tried to move forward with her life. She is now married, has raised three children and earned a master's degree in education.

Manson, however, has been behind bars for more than four decades after being put away for the series of murders in 1969.

He was convicted of leading a cult in which disaffected young people living in a commune followed his orders and were ultimately turned into killers.

Manson, Atkins, Krenwinkle and Leslie Van Houten were convicted of murder and sentenced to death for the killings.

Susan Atkins, Patricia Krenwinkle and Leslie Van Houten (above) were convicted of murder and sentenced to death for killings at two gruesome scenes in the summer of 1969

They brutally murdered director Tate and six others in Los Angeles over two nights.

He had ordered his family members to slaughter Tate, who was eight-and-a-half months pregnant, and three of her friends at her home above Beverly Hills.

Stephen Parent was a fifth unfortunate victim that night. He had driven to the property to see if caretaker William Garreston wanted to buy his AM/FM Clock radio, and had stayed on for a beer at the guest house. He was shot multiple times when he wound down the window at the electric gate as he left.

The following night the Family butchered small business owners Leno and Rosemary La Bianca, in their home in Los Angeles.

The murders were carried out in upscale, mostly white neighborhoods of Los Angeles in order to blame the crimes on African Americans, in the hope of sparking what he termed a 'Helter Skelter' race war.

Manson, who was not actually present but ordered the killings, applied for parole in 2012 but was denied release and is not eligible to apply again until 2027.

He was hospitalized earlier this year suffering from intestinal bleeding.


Chief prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi said he would seek the death penalty

LOS ANGELES (AP) &mdash Following a seven-month trial, Charles Manson and three of his followers were convicted of murder and conspiracy in the August 1969 killings of actress Sharon Tate and six others.

The Associated Press is republishing the following article on the verdicts to mark the anniversary of the killings. It first appeared on Jan. 26, 1971.

By Linda Deutsch
Associated Press Writer

LOS ANGELES &mdash Charles Manson, shaggy leader of a cult-like clan of hippie types, was convicted Monday of first-degree murder and conspiracy along with three women followers in the savage slayings of actress Sharon Tate and six others.

The state said it will ask the death penalty for all.

The defendants, who staged wild outbursts during their seven-month trial, sat passively as verdicts were returned on the 27 counts against them.

After jurors were polled, Manson muttered audibly, referring to them: &ldquoI think they&rsquore all guilty.&rdquo After the verdicts were all in, he shouted at the judge: &ldquoWe&rsquore still not allowed to put on a defense. You won&rsquot outlive that, old man.&rdquo

The jury of seven men and five women, who had deliberated 42 hours and 40 minutes since receiving the case Jan.16, was ordered to return to court at 9 a.m. Thursday for the penalty-phase of the trial. They will continue to be sequestered.

The prosecutor said he has about 50 witnesses ready for the penalty trial. The defense has said it will put on a case as long or longer than the state&rsquos, seeking life imprisonment instead of the death penalty on the contention there still is doubt as to guilt.

Death or life imprisonment are the only possible verdicts for convictions on first-degree murder.

Under California law the same jury that returns a first-degree murder-conspiracy conviction must meet again at a second trial to fix the penalty.

Had the verdict been second-degree murder, the penalty would have been an automatic five years to life and there would have been no penalty trial.

The defendants were charged with murder-conspiracy in the August 1969 slayings of the beautiful actress and four visitors to her mansion, and in the killings a night later of a wealthy merchant couple.

Manson, 36, was accused of ordering the killings to touch off a race war he believed was heralded in a Beatles song, after which he expected to take over power.

The other defendants were Susan Atkins, 22, Patricia Krenwinkel, 23, and Leslie Van Houten, 21.

Miss Van Houten was charged with conspiracy in all the killings, but with murder only in those of market owners Leno and Rosemary LaBianca.

The defendants, banished from court Dec. 22 for shouting, filed in smiling and chatting. The women wore prison uniforms with ribbons in their long hair. Manson wore a rumpled white shirt with a blue scarf. His hair was disheveled, and he sported a new goatee.

All arose and walked out quietly after the verdicts &mdash read one by one for each of the 27 counts &mdash were finished. A score of sheriff&rsquos deputies was in the packed 92-seat courtroom to maintain order.

Deputy Dist. Atty. Vincent Bugliosi, the chief prosecutor, told newsmen he will seek the death penalty: &ldquoI don&rsquot enjoy it, but it is necessary.&rdquo

Of the verdict, he said: &ldquoI am very, very pleased, and the Los Angeles Police Department is very happy. We expected the verdict, but until the clerk reads the verdict you don&rsquot know.&rdquo

The deciding factor? &ldquoThe overwhelming amount of evidence.&rdquo

Chief defense counsel Paul Fitzgerald, said the defendants told him Monday night they &ldquoexpected the worst.&rdquo He described the verdict as anticipated.

&ldquoWe lost the case when we lost our change of venue. We thought we had as much chance to win the case in Los Angeles as they had of winning the Sam Sheppard,&rdquo he said, referring to a Cleveland doctor convicted in the 1960s of slaying his wife in a sensational case. The Supreme Court ultimately overturned the conviction.

Fitzgerald said the defense would argue at the penalty trial that pretrial publicity hurt the defendants. He said he will plead for a sentence of life imprisonment on grounds there is still some doubt as to guilt.

Maxwell Keith, representing Miss Van Houten, said he had felt she had a fighting chance if not for acquittal, for second-degree murder: Miss Van Houten was not a member of the killer party at the Tate home.

&ldquoShe reacted a lot better than I did,&rdquo he said of the verdict. &ldquoShe didn&rsquot turn a hair. She seemed more solicitous of me.&rdquo

Manson&rsquos attorney, Irving Kanarek, declined to comment on the verdict.

The verdict capped a trial in which the state called 84 witnesses, and the defense rested without putting on a case. The transcript ran nearly 6 million words, and there were 297 exhibits.

The prosecutor in final arguments called the killings &ldquomonstrous, macabre and nightmarish . perhaps the most inhuman horror-filled hour of savage murder and human slaughter in the annals of recorded crime.&rdquo

He called Manson &ldquosomeone with a sick and morbid lust and preoccupation with death.&rdquo The women, he said, were Manson&rsquos &ldquorobots and zombies.&rdquo

The defense argued that someone other than the defendants might have done the killings. Attorneys said Manson was being prosecuted for his unpopular lifestyle, and that if the women were really robots, they couldn&rsquot perform the premeditation needed for first-degree murder.

The case first made headlines Aug. 10, 1969, when a maid found the bloody bodies of victims at the Tate estate.

The eight-months-pregnant honey blond actress, 25, wife of director Roman Polanski, lay stabbed on the living room floor near the body of Jay Sebring, 26, Hollywood hairstylist and her onetime fiancé.

Outside were the bodies of Polish playboy Wojciech Frykowski, 37, and his girlfriend, coffee heiress Abigail Folger, 26. Slain in his car was Stephen Parent, 18, shot as he left after visiting the caretaker.

&ldquoPIG&rdquo was smeared in blood on the door. A towel &ldquohood&rdquo covered Sebring&rsquos head. Police called the slayings &ldquoritualistic.&rdquo

The next day, a few miles away, the LaBiancas were found stabbed to death amid bloody scrawlings.

For four months police were baffled. Then, acting on a tip from a woman who said Miss Atkins told of the killings while the two shared a jail cell, police made mass arrests of Manson and his family, then living in a remote commune near Death Valley.

Manson, only 5 feet 6 but with what his followers called near-hypnotic powers, quickly emerged as the central figure. The son of a prostitute and habitué of prisons and institutions most of his life, he had formed his &ldquofamily&rdquo in San Francisco&rsquos hippie district and come to the Hollywood area to seek a singing career. Family members called him &ldquoGod&rdquo and &ldquoJesus&rdquo and &ldquoSatan&rdquo.

A onetime clan member, Linda Kasabian, star state witness at the trial, said Manson sent out two killer parties to the Tate and LaBianca homes, ordering the second set of killings because the first were &ldquotoo messy.&rdquo

Mrs. Kasabian, granted immunity from prosecution for her story, said Manson went along himself on the LaBianca trip but left before the actual killings. In 19 days on the stand, she told of seeing two killings and of hearing screams of other victims.

In Milford, New Hampshire, Mrs. Kasabian said of the verdict: &ldquoI&rsquom not surprised, but my heart really grieves for them.&rdquo

Other witnesses said Miss Atkins admitted killing Miss Tate after the latter pleaded to live and have her baby, then tasting her blood and finding it &ldquobeautiful.&rdquo

Witnesses said Miss Krenwinkel complained that her hand hurt after the Tate killings because she had stabbed so much, and that Miss Van Houten repeatedly stabbed a body that was already dead, and enjoyed it.

When the defense&rsquos turn came, attorneys surprised the court by resting. They said that if the women defendants were allowed to testify, they would tell stories that would incriminate themselves and clear Manson. The attorney said they would not allow this.

Manson testified in the jury&rsquos absence and said he&rsquod killed no one and ordered no one killed.

In a rumbling discourse he explained his lifestyle and said of women: &ldquoThese children who come at you with knives, they&rsquore your children. I didn&rsquot teach them. You did.&rdquo

He told the women not to testify and declined to repeat his story for jurors.

Trial highlights included frequent shouts and songs from defendants that got them banished to nearby detention rooms, where they listened via loudspeaker. Manson lunged once at the judge. Attorneys were jailed for contempt. One attorney vanished on a camping trip and had to be replaced.

Through it all, a band of loyal Manson clan women maintained a vigil in the street outside the Hall of Justice, waiting for their &ldquofather&rdquo to be freed from &ldquothe tower.&rdquo

Manson and Miss Atkins still face murder charges in the 1969 killing of Malibu musician Gary Hinman. Manson also is charged with murdering Donald &ldquoShorty&rdquo Shea, a hand who vanished from the clan&rsquos movie ranch commune. His body has not been found.


Manson was saved from execution when the California Supreme Court outlawed the death penalty in 1972. During his decades in the California State Prison in Corcoran, Manson received more mail than any other prisoner in the U.S. He was denied parole a dozen times and died, apparently of natural causes, on Nov. 19, 2017. He was 83.

Laurie Levenson, a professor at Loyola Law School who followed high-profile cases, described Manson in 2009 as the worst of the worst: "If you're going to be evil, you have to be off-the-charts evil, and Charlie Manson was off-the-charts evil," Levenson told CNN.

Despite the vicious brutality of the murders he committed or ordered, however, Manson became an icon of sorts to the more radical elements of the counterculture movement. His image is still seen on posters and T-shirts.

To others, he was an object of morbid curiosity. In addition to the best-selling "Helter Skelter," which was written by Manson prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi, and the TV movie released two years later, many other books and movies related to the Manson story have been released.


Watch the video: Charles Manson Followers React to Verdict. From the Archives. NBCLA


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