Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Charles Manson & The Family

Charles Manson was born to unmarried, teenage, lost cause alcoholic. She once sold him for a pitcher of beer but he was unfortunately retrieved a few days later by a relative. He should have been drowned like an unwanted puppy. When his loser mother and uncle were sent to jail for robbing a gas station, Manson was placed into the home of relatives. Upon his mother's parole three years later, Manson was reunited with her and they lived in trashed out hotel rooms for awhile. In 1947, Manson's mother no longer wanted him around and dumped him into a foster home. He was sent to the Gibault School for Boys, in Terre Haute, Indiana. After 10 months, he ran away back to his devoted mother, but she told him to get lost.

By robbing a grocery store, Manson got enough cash to rent a sleezy hotel room and began a string of robberies and burglaries. He stupidly got caught red-handed trying to steal a kid's bicycle and ended up being sent to juvie but he escaped the next day. Upon his recapture, Manson was put into Boys Town, from which he again escaped with another boy. The fugitives committed two armed robberies on their way to the home of the other boy's uncle. Real smart, guys!

At the mature age of 13, Manson was caught during the second of two break-ins of the same grocery store and sent to the Indiana School for Boys. After many failed attempts, he eventually escaped with two other boys. Big surprise! Manson robbed several gas stations with the other boys in Utah but they were caught driving into California in cars they had stolen. For the federal crime of taking a stolen car across a state line, Manson was sent to the National Training School for Boys in Washington, D.C. After four years of schooling Manson was labeled "illiterate" and "aggressively antisocial." Duh!

A few weeks before his scheduled 1952 parole hearing, Manson took a razor blade and held it against another boy's throat while he sodomized him. Oh, baby! Manson was then transferred to the Federal Reformatory in Petersburg, Virginia, where he was considered "dangerous." About time you smartened up, folks!

The following year, several serious offenses resulted in Manson's transfer to the Federal Reformatory at Chillicothe, Ohio, a more secure institution. Manson finally caught on and pretended to be a model resident. Good work habits and a rise in his educational level from the lower fourth to the upper seventh grade won him a 1954 parole. Yes, a seventh grade education makes for a very successful life on the outside. Sometimes people can be so guillable!


Would You Trust Someone Who Looks Like This?

In January 1955, Manson married a very foolish woman named Rosalie Jean Willis. He was able to support her via part-time jobs and, um, stealing cars. Are you surprised? Later that year, they moved to Los Angeles, driving in one of those stolen cars. Can you guess what happened? Manson was again charged with a federal crime for taking a vehicle over state lines but only given five years' probation. His failure to appear at a hearing regarding another vehicle theft resulted in his March 1956 arrest in Indianapolis. His probation was revoked and he was sentenced to three years' imprisonment at Terminal Island, San Pedro, California. Less than two weeks before his scheduled parole hearing, Manson tried to escape by... yes, you guessed it..stealing a car. He was subsequently given five more years probation and his parole was denied.

In 1958 Manson's stupid wife decided to smarten up and divorce him. Only two months later he was caught pimping a 16-year-old girl. Pleading guilty in September 1959 to a charge of attempting to cash a forged U.S. Treasury check (a federal offense), he received a 10-year suspended sentence and probation after a known prostitute made a "tearful plea" before the court that she and Manson were "deeply in love" (gag!) and would marry if he were freed. Everyone knows that marriage can change a man! This woman, Leona aka Candy Stevens, did marry Manson but only so that she would be immune from having to testify against him. Not sure if it was true love or she was just afraid of him.

After Manson took Leona and another girl from California to New Mexico for purposes of prostitution, he was held and questioned for violation of the Mann Act (taking slaves/prostitutes across state lines) and later released. Suspecting that this investigation had not ended, Manson disappeared, and in violation of his probation, a bench warrant was issued. A 1960 indictment for violation of the Mann Act followed. Manson was found and arrested in Texas when one of his two whores was arrested for prostitution. He was returned to Los Angeles and, for violation of his probation on the check-cashing charge, he was ordered to serve a ten-year sentence.

In 1961, Manson was transferred to the United States Penitentiary at McNeil Island. Although the Mann Act charge had been dropped, the attempt to cash the Treasury check was still a federal offense. His 1961 and 1964 annual reviews noted he had a"tremendous drive to call attention to himself." Ooooh, foreshadowing!

In June 1966, Manson was sent, for the second time in his life, to Terminal Island, in preparation for early release. By this point, he had spent more than half of his 32 years in prisons and other institutions. If there's one thing he's learned from his peers, it's how to be a law-abiding, normal person!


"The Family"

The following passages are about how Manson got his followers a.k.a. "The Family." There were many members of this charismatic psychopath's cult beyond those featured in this article. New members joined his family even after his final incarceration. Even today, family members await the release of their daddy and await his evil instructions.

Lynette Fromme.. .................. Charles Watson

Bobby Beausoleil.......... ......... Mary Brunner

Patricia Krenwinkle...... ..... Steven Grogan

Susan Atkins,,,,,,, ,,, ,,,,,,, Linda Kasabian

On his release day, Manson requested and was granted permission to move to the San Francisco area. Living mostly by begging, he soon got to know Mary Brunner, a twenty-three-year-old graduate student who was working as an assistant librarian at UC Berkeley. After moving in with her, he started bringing other women in to live with them. Soon it was Manson and 19 women sharing Mary's home. Do you think Mary got jealous while M was getting laid all the time?

Manson also established himself as a guru in San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury district, which, during 1967's "Summer of Love", was a center for hippie culture. Peace, baby! Sharing a philosophy that included some of the Scientology he had studied in prison, Manson soon had his first group of young followers, most of them female.

Before the summer was out, Manson and several of his weak-minded groupies got into an old school bus and drove throughout the south west, including Mexico. Returning to the Los Angeles area, they lived in Topanga Canyon, Malibu, and Venice. Wonder what kind of songs they sang. Kumbaya? You Are My Sunshine? 99 grams of LSD on the Wall?

The events leading up to the infamous Manson Family murders were set in motion in late spring 1968. Returning home in the early hours of the following morning from a night recording session, Beach Boy Dennis Wilson was greeted in his own driveway by Manson, who emerged from the house. Totally creeped out, Wilson asked the stranger whether he intended to hurt him. Manson assured him that he had no such intentions (yet).

Inside the house, Wilson discovered 12 strangers, mostly girls, who befriended him. His home became their residence, a hippie pad of sex, drugs and rock-and-roll! Wilson still had no inkling of Manson's past indiscretions. Over the next few months, as their numbers doubled, the Manson Family cost Wilson over $100,000. This included medical bills and the accidental destruction of an uninsured car of his which they borrowed.

Still not realizing with whom he was dealing, Wilson paid for studio time to record songs written and performed by Manson, and he introduced Manson to acquaintances of his with roles in the entertainment business. These included Gregg Jakobson, Terry Melcher, and Rudi Altobelli.

The Spawn at Spahn Ranch

By the summer of 1968, when Wilson wised up and had his manager kick the Family members from his house, Manson had already established a second home at Spahn's Movie Ranch. The evictees met up with Manson and other cult members there. This ranch had once been a shooting location for old cowboy movies but now its old sets were run down and the ranch was in the business of horseback riding.

While Family members did helpful work around the place, Manson kept the nearly-blind, elderly owner, George Spahn, "happy" by having follower Lynette "Squeeky" Fromme act as Spahn's eyes as well as service Spahn sexually. Put another log on the fire! The Family was soon joined at Spahn Ranch by Charles "Tex" Watson, who had previously met Manson at Dennis Wilson's house.


In November 1968, Manson established his Family at two new places: the abandoned Myers and Barkers ranches in Death Valley.

Home Sweet Home

In December, Manson and Watson visited a Topanga Canyon acquaintance who played them the Beatles' White Album. Manson was obsessed with the Beatles. He had previously told fellow jailbirds that he would surpass the group in fame. To his cult he spoke of the band as "the soul" and "part of the hole in the infinite," quoting some lyrics from their songs.

On one lovely, moonlit New Year's Eve at Myers Ranch, the Family members gathered outside around a cozy fire and listened as daddy Manson explained that social turmoil had been predicted by The Beatles. He said that the White Album songs "told it all." He explained that the album was in secret code, specifically directed at Manson and his Family, to "preserve the worthy from the impending disaster" of an apocalypse that Manson called "Helter Skelter," another Beatles' song reference.

In early January 1969, the Family moved to Canoga Park, California. They chose a lovely yellow house to be "submerged beneath the awareness of the outside world." Manson called the home, the "Yellow Submarine," another Beatles reference. There, Family members prepared for the impending apocalypse.

Manson told his cult that racist whites and blacks would fight each other and then non-racist whites would defend the blacks, causing both factions of whites to turn on and destroy each other. The family planned to hide in a "secret city" beneath Death Valley during the riots, arising to rule over the blacks in the end. The Family was working on a record album, filled with secret codes, hoping to instigate the riots and eventual apocalypse.

When Manson's followers were told Terry Melcher, whom Manson had met at Brian Wilson's house, was coming to the house to hear their songs , they prepared a meal and cleaned the place up to impress him but Melcher never arrived and that made Manson angry. Very angry, Very, very angry.

On March 23, 1969, an irate Manson went to where Terry Melcher had been living. This was actually Rudi Altobelli's property, where Melcher had been renting the guest house. A month before, Melcher had moved out and new tenants actress Sharon Tate and her husband, director Roman Polanski, moved in.

Manson was met by Shahrokh Hatami, a photographer who was there to photograph Tate in advance of her departure for Rome the next day. When Manson told Hatami he was looking for Melcher, a name Hatami did not recognize, Hatami informed him the place was now the Polanski residence. Manson, without a word, went into the backyard, to the guest house, returned a minute or two later, and left.

That evening, Manson returned to the property and again went back to the guest house where he was confronted by Rudi Altobelli. He confirmed that Melcher had moved away to Malibu but that he did not know the new address. Altobelli said he was leaving the country soon and warned Manson not to disturb his guest house tenants. Never tell a psychopath what NOT to do...


Crowe Shooting:

In May 1969, Terry Melcher finally visited Spahn Ranch to hear Manson and the Family sing their lovely camp songs. Melcher returned a second time and brought along a friend who owned a mobile recording unit.

In June, Manson was getting impatient about the riots that were not happening as he predicted so he told the Family they might have to show blacks how to start "Helter Skelter."

When Manson ordered Watson to obtain money to help the Family prepare for Helter Skelter, Watson defrauded a black drug dealer named Bernard "Lotsapoppa" Crowe. Crowe responded with a threat to wipe out everyone at Spahn Ranch. Manson countered on July 1, 1969, by shooting Crowe at his Hollywood apartment.

Manson's mistaken belief that Crowe was shot dead was seemingly confirmed by a news report of the discovery of the dumped body of a Black Panther in Los Angeles. Although Crowe was not a member of the Black Panthers, Manson assumed he had been and now expected retaliation from the group. He turned Spahn Ranch into a defensive camp, with night patrols of armed guards. "If we'd needed any more proof that Helter Skelter was coming down very soon, this was it," Tex Watson would later write, "Blackie was trying to get at the chosen ones."


Hinman Murder:

Gary Hinman

In July 1969, Manson sent Family members Bobby Beausoleil, Mary Brunner and Susan Atkins to the house of Gary Hinman, a music teacher that Beausoleil knew, to "persuade" him to turn over some money. Some accounts say Manson thought Hinman had inherited money that he outright wanted. Other accounts say The Family wanted a refund on bad LSD that Hinman sold them. Hinman refused to give them any money. He was held hostage for several days, during which Manson showed up with a sword to slash off an ear. After that, Beausoleil repeatedly stabbed Hinman to death while Brunner and Atkins took turns suffocating him. Before leaving the Topanga Canyon residence, one of them used Hinman’s blood to write "Political piggy" on the wall and to draw a panther paw, a Black Panther symbol. Manson and his Family were cowards, never taking pride in their actions, always trying to blame others. When Beausoleil was arrested on August 6, 1969, after he had been caught driving Hinman's car (smart move, dude!), police found the murder weapon in the wheel well.




"Tate Murders"

Sharon Tate .........................Abigail Folger

Steve Parent ..................... Wojciech Frykowski

Two days after Beausoleil's arrest, Manson told Family members at Spahn Ranch, "Now is the time for Helter Skelter." On the night of August 8, Manson told Watson to take Susan Atkins, Linda Kasabian, and Patricia "Katie" Krenwinkel to "that house where Melcher used to live" and "totally destroy everyone in it, as gruesome as you can." He told the girls to do whatever Watson instructed. Manson told the girls to "leave a sign… something witchy."

When the four arrived at the entrance to the property around midnight, Watson climbed a telephone pole and cut the phone line. Fearing the gate might be electrified or rigged with an alarm, they climbed a embankment and dropped onto the grounds. Suddenly headlights appeared. Watson told the others to hide in the bushes and he stepped out into the open and told the driver to stop. He shot the approaching driver, 18-year-old Steven Parent.

After cutting the screen of an open window of the main house, Watson told Kasabian to keep watch down by the gate. He removed the screen, entered through the window, and let Atkins and Krenwinkel in through the front door.

Inside the house, Polanski's friend Wojciech Frykowski awoke on the living-room couch. Watson kicked him in the head and said "I’m the devil, and I’m here to do the devil’s business." On Watson’s direction, the other three occupants were brought into the living room. They were Sharon Tate, eight and a half months pregnant; her friend Jay Sebring, a famous hairstylist, and Frykowski’s girlfriend, Abigail Folger, heiress to the Folger coffee fortune.

Watson began to tie Tate and Sebring together by their necks with rope he'd brought and slung up over a beam. Sebring's protest of such rough treatment of the pregnant Tate prompted Watson to shut him up by shooting him. Watson then stabbed Sebring seven times. Guess he didn't have enough holes in him.

Frykowski, whose hands had been bound with a towel, freed himself and began struggling with Atkins, who repeatedly stabbed him in the legs during the scuffle. As Frykowski fought his way to escape, Watson whacked him over the head with the gun multiple times, stabbed him repeatedly, and shot him twice. Still not dead, Frykowski struggled to escape across the lawn, but persistent Watson ended his life with a final stabbing. Frykowski had been stabbed a total of fifty-one times during the assault.

Meanwhile, Kasabian, who had been outside, approached the house after hearing "horrifying sounds" and told Atkins that someone was coming. No one was really coming. Kasabian just didn't have to stomach for what was going on and tried to stop it.

Abagail Folger escaped from Krenwinkel and fled out a bedroom door to the pool area. Folger was chased to the front lawn by Krenwinkel, who tacked her. Folger ended up being stabbed multiple times.

Back in the house, Atkins and/or Watson killed Tate, who was stabbed a total of sixteen times. Tate pleaded to be allowed to live long enough to have her baby. She was crying out, "Mother... Mother..." until she was dead.

Using the towel that had bound Frykowski’s hands and dipped in Tate's blood, Atkins wrote "pig" on the house’s front door. En route home, the killers changed out of bloody clothes, which were ditched in the hills, along with their weapons.


LaBianca Murders

The next night, the four from the Tate murders plus Family members Leslie Van Houten and Steve "Clem" Grogan rode out at Manson’s instruction. Manson accompanied them, "to show (them) how to do it." Kasabian drove the group to 3301 Waverly Drive, home of supermarket executive Leno LaBianca and his wife, Rosemary, a dress shop co-owner. The LaBianca home was next door to a house where Manson and Family members had attended a party the previous year.

Manson disappeared up the driveway, later returning to say he had tied up the occupants. Everyone went back up to the house. Waking the sleeping Leno LaBianca from the couch at gunpoint, Manson had Watson bind his hands with a leather thong. After Rosemary LaBianca was brought briefly into the living room from the bedroom, Watson followed Manson’s orders to cover the couple’s heads with pillowcases, which he bound in place with wrapped lamp cords. Mrs. LaBianca was returned to the bedroom. Manson left, sending Krenwinkel and Leslie Van Houten into the house with instructions that the couple be killed.

Leno LaBianca was stabbed by Watson with a chrome-plated bayonet, the first thrust going into the man's throat. Mrs. LaBianca keeping the girls at bay by swinging the lamp tied to her neck. Subduing her with several stabs of the bayonet, Watson returned to the living room and resumed attacking Leno, who was stabbed twelve times with the bayonet. After Watson had finished, he carved "WAR" on the man's exposed belly. Krenwinkel stabbedRosemary LaBianca repeatedly with a knife. Watson, heeding Manson’s instruction to make sure each of the girls played a part, told Van Houten to stab her too. She did but at trial would claim that Rosemary LaBianca was already dead by the time she stabbed her. Evidence showed that many of Mrs. LaBianca's forty-one stab wounds had, in fact, been inflicted post-mortem.

While Watson cleaned off the bloody bayonet and showered, Krenwinkel wrote "Rise" and "Death to Pigs" on the walls and "Helter Skelter" on the refrigerator door, all in the victims' blood. She gave Leno LaBianca fourteen puncture wounds with an ivory-handled, two-tined carving fork, leaving it jutting out of his stomach, and she also pushed a steak knife into his throat.

Hoping for the excitement of a double crime that night, Manson told Kasabian to drive to the Venice home of an actor acquaintance of hers, another "piggy." Dropping off the second trio of Family members at the man's apartment building, Manson drove back to Spahn Ranch, leaving everyone else to hitchhike home. Such a coward! Kasabian avoided this murder by deliberately knocking on the wrong apartment door and waking a stranger.


Bad Boy, Bad Boy, What Cha Gonna Do?

On August 16, the sheriff’s office raided Spahn Ranch and arrested Manson and 25 others, as "suspects in a major auto theft ring" that had been stealing Volkswagens and converting them into dune buggies. Weapons were seized, but because the warrant had been misdated the group was released a few days later.

By the end of August, when virtually all leads had gone nowhere, a report by the LaBianca detectives, generally younger than the Tate detective team, noted a possible connection between the bloody writings at the LaBianca house and the Beatles’ most recent album, "White."

In mid-October, the LaBianca team, still working separately from the Tate team, checked with the sheriff’s office about possible similar crimes and learned of the Hinman case. They also learned that the Hinman detectives had spoken with Beausoleil’s girlfriend, Kitty Lutesinger, who had been arrested a few days earlier with members of "the Manson Family." The arrests had taken place at the desert ranches.

National Park rangers, officers from the California Highway Patrol and the Inyo County Sheriff’s Office together raided both the Myers and Barker ranches. The raiders had found stolen dune buggies and other vehicles and had arrested two dozen persons, including Manson. A Highway Patrol officer found Manson hiding in a cabinet beneath Barker's bathroom sink.

A month after they, too, had spoken with Lutesinger, the LaBianca detectives made contact with members of a motorcycle gang she'd told them Manson had tried to enlist as his bodyguards while the Family was at Spahn Ranch. While the gang members were providing information that suggested a link between Manson and the murders, a dormitory mate of Susan Atkins succeeded in informing LAPD of the Family’s involvement in the crimes. One of those arrested at Barker Ranch, Atkins had been booked for the Hinman murder after she’d confirmed to the sheriff’s detectives that she’d been involved in it, as Lutesinger had said. Transferred to Sybil Brand Institute, a detention center in Los Angeles, she had begun talking to bunkmates Ronnie Howard and Virginia Graham, to whom she gave accounts of the events in which she had been involved.

On December 1, 1969, acting on the information from these sources, LAPD announced warrants for the arrest of Watson, Krenwinkel, and Kasabian in the Tate case. The connection between the LaBianca case and Van Houten, who was also among those arrested near Death Valley, had not yet been recognized.

Watson and Krenwinkel were arrested by authorities in Texas and Alabama. Informed that there was a warrant out for her arrest, Kasabian voluntarily surrendered to authorities in New Hampshire on December 2.

Before long, physical evidence such as Krenwinkel's and Watson's fingerprints, which had been collected by LAPD was added with other evidence. In September the distinctive .22-caliber Hi Standard "Buntline Special" revolver Watson used on Parent, Sebring, and Frykowski had been found and given to the police by a ten-year-old who lived near the Tate residence. Acting on a newspaper article, a local ABC television crew located the bloody clothing discarded by the Tate killers. A knife found behind the cushion of a chair in the Tate living room was apparently that of Susan Atkins, who lost her knife in the course of the attack.



At the trial, which began in 1970, the prosecution's main witness was Kasabian, who, along with Manson, Atkins, and Krenwinkel, had all been charged with seven counts of murder and one of conspiracy to commit murder. Not having participated in the killings, she was granted immunity in exchange for testimony that detailed the nights of the crimes.

Originally, a deal had been made with Atkins in which the prosecution agreed not to seek the death penalty against her in exchange for her grand jury testimony on which the indictments were secured; once Atkins repudiated that testimony, the deal was withdrawn. Because Van Houten had only participated in the LaBianca killings, she was charged with two counts of murder and one of conspiracy.

Originally, Judge William Keene had reluctantly granted Manson permission to act as his own attorney. Because of his conduct, including violations of a gag order and submission of "outlandish" and "nonsensical" pretrial motions, the permission was withdrawn before the start of the actual trial. Manson filed an affidavit of prejudice against Keene; he was replaced by Judge Charles H. Older.

On the first day of testimony, Manson appeared in court with an X carved into his forehead and issued a statement that he was "considered inadequate and incompetent to speak or defend himself" and had "X'd (himself) from the establishment's world." Over the next few days, most of the Family members also put x's on their own foreheads.

The prosecution said that the triggering of "Helter Skelter" was the main motive of the crimes. The crime scenes' bloody White Album references — pig, rise, helter skelter — were correlated with testimony about Manson predictions that the murders blacks would commit at the outset of Helter Skelter would involve the writing of "pigs" on walls in victims’ blood. Testimony that Manson had said "now is the time for Helter Skelter" was supplemented with Kasabian’s testimony that, on the night of the LaBianca murders, Manson considered discarding Rosemary LaBianca's wallet on the street of a black neighborhood. Having obtained the wallet in the LaBianca house, he "wanted a black person to pick it up and use the credit cards so that the people, "the establishment," would think it was some other sort of an organized group that killed these people." On his direction, Kasabian had hidden it in the women's rest room of a service station near a black area.

Ongoing Trial Disruptions:

During the trial, Family members loitered near the entrances and corridors of the courthouse. To keep them out of the courtroom itself, the prosecution subpoenaed them as prospective witnesses, who would not be able to enter while others were testifying. When the group established itself in vigil on the sidewalk, each of the "hard-core" members wore a sheathed hunting knife that, being in plain view, was carried legally. Each of them was also identifiable by the X on his or her forehead.

Some Family members attempted to dissuade witnesses from testifying. Prosecution witnesses Paul Watkins and Juan Flynn were both threatened. Watkins was badly burned in a suspicious fire in his van. Former Family member Barbara Hoyt, who had overheard Susan Atkins describing the Tate murders to Family member Ruth Ann Moorehouse, agreed to accompany the latter to Hawaii. There, Moorehouse allegedly gave her a hamburger spiked with several doses of LSD. Found sprawled on a Honolulu curb in a drugged semi-stupor, Hoyt was taken to the hospital, where she did her best to identify herself as a witness in the Tate-LaBianca murder trial. Before the incident, Hoyt had been a reluctant witness; after the attempt to silence her, her reticence disappeared.

On August 4, despite precautions taken by the court, Manson flashed the jury a Los Angeles Times front page whose headline was "Manson Guilty, Nixon Declares," a reference to a statement made the previous day when U.S. President Richard Nixon had decried what he saw as the media's glamorization of Manson. The next day, the female defendants stood up and said in unison that, in light of Nixon's remark, there was no point in going on with the trial. On October 5, Manson leaped over the defense table and attempted to attack the judge. Wrestled to the ground by bailiffs, he was removed from the courtroom with the female defendants, who had subsequently risen and begun chanting in Latin. Thereafter, Older allegedly began wearing a revolver under his robes.

Defense rests?

On November 16, the prosecution rested its case. Three days later, the defense shocked everyone by resting their case as well, without calling a single witness. Shouting their disapproval, Atkins, Krenwinkel, and Van Houten demanded their right to testify.

In chambers, the defense lawyers told the judge that their clients wanted to testify that they had planned and committed the crimes all on their own and that Manson had not been involved. Defending him to the end.

By resting their case, the defense lawyers had stopped the cover up. In the prosecutor's opinion, Manson told the women to testify in this way as a means of saving his own butt. Discussing the trial in a 1987 documentary, Krenwinkel said, "The entire proceedings were scripted by Charlie."
The next day, Manson testified. Manson said that "the music is telling the youth to rise up against the establishment." Failing to take responsibility for his actions, he asked, "Why blame it on me? I didn’t write the music."

As the trial concluded and closing arguments were coming up, attorney Ronald Hughes mysteriously disappeared during a weekend trip. (He turns up later in this story). Two weeks later when the trial resumed, the four ladies were banned from the courtroom because it had become obvious the defendants were acting in collusion with each other and were putting on a show.

Conviction and Penalty phase:

On January 25, 1971, guilty verdicts were returned against the four defendants on each of the twenty-seven separate counts against them. Midway through the penalty phase, Manson shaved his head and trimmed his beard to a fork; he told the press, "I am the Devil and the Devil always has a bald head." To hopefully avoid the death penalty for their deeds, the female defendants delayed shaving their heads (as allegiance to Manson) until after the jurors retired to consider the state's request for the death penalty.

The jury returned verdicts of death against all four defendants on all counts. On April 19, 1971, Judge Older sentenced the four to death. On the day the verdicts recommending the death penalty were returned, news came that the badly-decomposed body of the mysteriously missing attorney Ronald Hughes had been found in Ventura County. It was rumored that Hughes was murdered by the Family, possibly because he had refused to allow Van Houten to take the stand and absolve Manson of the crimes. Family member Sandra Good stated that Hughes was "the first of the retaliation murders."

Watson was tried separately because he'd moved to Texas a month before his arrest and had to be extradited. In October he was found guilty on seven counts of murder and one of conspiracy and was sentenced to death.

In a 1971 trial Manson was found guilty of the murders of Gary Hinman and Donald "Shorty" Shea and was given a life sentence (Califonia outlawed the death penalty recently). Shea, a Spahn Ranch stuntman and horse wrangler, had been killed approximately ten days after a 1969 sheriff's raid on the ranch. Manson, who suspected that Shea helped set up the raid, had apparently believed Shea was trying to get Spahn to run the Family off the ranch. Manson may have considered it a "sin" that the white Shea had married a black woman; and there was the possibility that Shea knew about the Tate/LaBianca killings.

In separate trials, Family members Bruce Davis and Steve "Clem" Grogan were also found guilty of Shea's murderIn February 1972, the death sentences of all five parties were automatically reduced to life in prison when the Supreme Court of California abolished the death penalty.

And There's More to this Fun Story!

On September 5, 1975, Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme attempted to assassinate U.S. President Gerald Ford in Sacramento, California. She and Manson follower Sandra Good had moved to the area to be near Manson while he was incarcerated at Folsom State Prison. A search her apartment shared by Fromme, Good, and another Family member turned up evidence that, resulted in Good's conviction for conspiring to send threatening communications through the United States mail and transmitting death threats by way of interstate commerce. Fromme told the media wanted to talk to President Ford about trees and this was the only way to get his attention. Fromme was sentenced to 15 years to life, becoming the first person sentenced under United States Code Title 18, chapter 84 (1965) which made it a Federal crime to attempt to assassinate the President of the United States.

In 1977, authorities learned the precise location of the remains of Shorty Shea and that, contrary to Family claims, Shea had not been dismembered and buried in several places. Contacting the prosecutor in his case, Steve Grogan told him Shea’s corpse had been buried in one piece; he drew a map that pinpointed the location of the body, which was recovered.

On September 25, 1984, while imprisoned at the California Medical Facility at Vacaville, Manson was severely burned by a fellow inmate who poured paint thinner on him and set him alight. The other prisoner, Jan Holmstrom, explained that Manson had objected to his Hare Krishna chants and had verbally threatened him. Despite suffering second- and third-degree burns over 20 percent of his body, Manson recovered from his injuries. Darn!

In December 1987, Lynette Fromme, serving a life sentence for the assassination attempt, escaped briefly from Alderson Federal Prison Camp in West Virginia. She said was trying to reach Manson, whom she had heard had cancer; she was apprehended within days.


In a 1994 conversation with Manson prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi, Catherine Share, a one-time Manson-follower, stated that her testimony in the penalty phase of Manson’s trial had been a lie intended to save Manson from the gas chamber and had been given on Manson’s explicit direction. In a 1997 segment of the tabloid television program Hard Copy, Share implied that her testimony had been given under a Manson threat of physical harm. In August 1971, after Manson's trial and sentencing, Share had participated in a violent California retail-store robbery, the object of which was the acquisition of weapons to help free Manson.

In January 1996, a Manson web site was established by latter-day Manson follower George Stimson, who was helped by Sandra Good. Good had been released from prison in 1985, after serving 10 years of her 15-year sentence for the death threats. The Manson website, was discontinued in 2001.

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 The Today Show, for which it had been recorded.

In a January 2008 segment of the Discovery Channel’s Most Evil, Barbara Hoyt said that the impression that she had accompanied Ruth Ann Moorehouse to Hawaii just to avoid testifying at Manson's trial was erroneous. Hoyt said she had cooperated with the Family because she was "trying to keep them from killing my family." She stated that, at the time of the trial, she was "constantly being threatened: 'Your family’s gonna die. The murders could be repeated at your house.'"

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