Guest Author - Carol Taller
On January 25, 1971 Charles Manson was convicted of first degree murder. Manson was best known as a hippie cult leader that convinced others to brutally kill Sharon Tate and six others. His name became synonymous with evil.
Manson was born on November 12, 1934. He was an illegitimate son of Kathleen Maddox; a sixteen year old heavy drinker living in Cincinnati Ohio. She imprisoned for armed robbery by the time she was 20.
When Manson was 14 he committed his first known crime by robbing a grocery store. He was sent to a detention center and escaped several times committing escalating crimes each time. He spent the next three years in detention—escaping a total of eighteen times.
In 1955 Manson married a waitress named Rosalie Willis and they had a child together. He got a job as a parking lot attendant and began stealing cars and Manson was sent back to prison. Manson and Willis were divorced by 1958. Manson married again in 1960, had a second child, and was divorced a second time in 1963.
Manson ended up back in prison again, and learns to play guitar. He finished his ten year sentence and asked to remain in prison but is denied. He is released and travelled to San Francisco. His cult followers travel with him and call themselves “The Family”.
Manson began writing music and hoped get it produced. He visited the “Tate” house to inquire about his music, but is told to leave through the back alley.
A few months later, Manson told his cult followers “Now Is the Time For Helter Skelter”, a Beatles song that greatly influenced Manson. He had convinced his followers that it was necessary to murder celebrities to be noticed. Sharon Tate, married to film director Roman Polanski, had been his first target. It is unclear if his abrupt dismissal from her estate had caused her to become his first target. He tells “The Family” now is the time to leave a sign —something witchy”.
Shortly after midnight on August 9, 1969 102 stab wounds are inflicted on four victims and one victim is shot at the Tate residence. Actress Sharon Tate, Jay Sebring, Voytek Frykowski, Abigail Folger and Steven Parent were dead.
The next day Family members look for more potential victims. The LAPD failed to find the killers, but slowly “The Family” members brag about their killing victories.
The Tate-LaBianco murder trial began on July 24, 1970. The state rested their case after almost four months of evidence. The defense did not provide any evidence and rested their case. Unfortunately, defense attorney Ronald Hughes failed to show up in court after that and he was never seen again. It was speculated that he was killed by “The Family”.
Manson was sentenced to death and was sent to San Quenton’s death row, but a year later the California Supreme Court declared the death penalty unconstitutional and Manson’s sentence was downgraded to life in prison.