Mass murderer and former cult leader Charles Manson has died, according to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.
On his release from prison on March 21, 1967, Manson received permission to move to San Francisco, where, with the help of a prison acquaintance, he moved into an apartment in Berkeley. In prison, bank robber Alvin Karpis had taught him to play the steel guitar.
Living mostly by begging, he soon got to know Mary Brunner, a 23-year-old graduate of the University of Wisconsin–Madison.
Brunner was working as a library assistant at University of California, Berkeley, and Manson moved in with her. According to a second-hand account, he overcame her resistance to his bringing other women in to live with them. Before long, they were sharing Brunner’s residence with 18 other women.
Manson established himself as a guru in San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury district, which during 1967’s “Summer of Love” was emerging as the signature hippie locale. Vincent Bugliosi said in his book Helter Skelter that Manson appeared to have borrowed philosophically from The Process Church of The Final Judgment, whose members believed Satan would become reconciled to Christ, and they would come together at the end of the world to judge humanity.
Expounding a philosophy that included some of the Scientology he had studied in prison,:163–164 he soon had the first of his groups of followers, which have been called the Manson Family, most of them female.
Upon a staff evaluation of Manson when he entered prison in July 1961 at the U.S. penitentiary in McNeil Island, Washington, Manson entered “Scientologist” as his religion.
Manson taught his followers that they were the reincarnation of the original Christians, and the Romans were the establishment. He strongly implied that he was Christ; he often told a story envisioning himself on the cross with the nails in his feet and hands. Sometime around 1967, he began using the alias “Charles Willis Manson.” He often said it very slowly (“Charles’ Will Is Man’s Son”) — implying that his will was the same as that of the Son of Man.
Before the summer ended, Manson and eight or nine of his enthusiasts piled into an old school bus they had re-wrought in hippie style, with colored rugs and pillows in place of the many seats they had removed. They roamed as far north as Washington state, then southward through Los Angeles, Mexico, and the southwest. Returning to the Los Angeles area, they lived in Topanga Canyon, Malibu, and Venice — western parts of the city and county.
In 1967 Brunner had become pregnant by Manson, and on April 15, 1968, gave birth to a son she named Valentine Michael (nicknamed “Pooh Bear”) in a condemned house in Topanga Canyon, assisted during the birth by several of the young women from the Family. Brunner (like most members of the group) acquired a number of aliases and nicknames, including: “Marioche”, “Och”, “Mother Mary”, “Mary Manson”, “Linda Dee Manson” and “Christine Marie Euchts”
Manson, 83, was rushed to a Bakersfield hospital on Nov. 12. The severity of his condition on Wednesday was unclear.
Vincent Bugliosi, the Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney who prosecuted Charles Manson provided this statement on his death:
“Manson was an evil, sophisticated con man with twisted and warped moral values.”
The brutal killings began on August 9, 1969, at the home of actress Sharon Tate and her husband, famed movie director Roman Polanski. He was out of the country at the time. The first set of victims were Tate, who was eight months’ pregnant; a celebrity hairstylist named Jay Sebring; coffee fortune heiress Abigail Folger; writer Wojciech Frykowski; and Steven Parent, a friend of the family’s caretaker.
The next evening, another set of murders took place. Supermarket executive Leno LaBianca and his wife, Rosemary, were killed at their home.
Although Manson ordered the killings, he didn’t participate.
Over the course of two nights, the killers took the lives of seven people, inflicting 169 stab wounds and seven .22-caliber gunshot wounds. Both crime scenes revealed horrifying details. And a few details linked the two crime scenes.
The word pig was written in victim blood on the walls of one home and the front door of another. There was also another phrase apparently scrawled in blood: Helter Skelter (it was misspelled Healter). The reason for the disturbing writings, the prosecutor argued, was because Manson wanted to start a race war and had hoped the Black Panthers would be blamed for the killings.
On June 16, 1970, Manson and three of his followers from the infamous “Manson Family”.
It was a commune that arose in California in the late 1960s, led by Charles Manson.
Susan Atkins, Patricia Krenwinkel and Leslie Van Houten went on trial in Los Angeles.
All of those details came tumbling out in the trial that both mesmerized and horrified the nation. During the trial, Manson and his followers created a circus-like atmosphere in the court with singing, giggling, angry outbursts and even carving X’s in their foreheads.
The charges came after a major break in the case when Atkins, who was already in jail on another charge, bragged to a fellow inmate about the Tate murders. She said they did it “because we wanted to do a crime that would shock the world….”
Manson was originally sentenced to death but the death penalty was briefly abolished in the state and his concurrent sentences were commuted to life in prison.
He also was convicted in the connection with the killings of Gary Hinman, a musician, and stuntman Donald “Shorty” Shea in 1969.