The bloody story of Hollywood killer cult leader Charles Manson


Infamous Cult Leader and mass murderer Charles Manson has died aged 83.

One of the 20th Century’s most notorious serial killers, Charles Manson, died at a California hospital last Sunday.

Manson was convicted for the murders of American model and actress Sharon Tate, who was at that time married to the famous director Roman Polanski and eight months pregnant with his child. Jay Sebring, a Hollywood hairdresser, Wojciech Frykowski, an aspiring screenwriter and heiress Abigail Folger, were murdered alongside Ms Tate at her home in Los Angeles on the night of August 8th, 1969.

The actual killings were carried out by Tex Watson and three other members of the “Family” Susan Atkins, Linda Kasabian and Patricia Krenwinkel, working under strict instructions from Manson. They were told by Manson to go to the Polanski house and “totally destroy everyone in [it], as gruesome as you can”.

The next night Manson accompanied six members of the “Family” (including the four from the previous night), to the house of supermarket executive Leno LaBianca and his wife Rosemary La Bianca, both of whom they brutally murdered.

Over the course of the two nights, the Family took the lives of seven people, inflicting 169 stab wounds and seven 22-calibre gunshot wounds. The brutal nature of both crime scenes revealed disturbing details that linked them.

The word ‘pig’ was written in the victims’ blood on the walls of one home and the front door of another. There was also another phrase apparently scrawled in blood: ‘Helter Skelter’ (mis-spelt ‘Healter’). The prosecution argued that the reason behind these scrawlings was Manson’s desire to start a race war, and that he hoped the Black Panthers would be blamed for the murders.

“Family” members were also responsible for a number of other assaults, thefts, crimes, and the attempted assassination of United States President Gerald Ford in Sacramento. Manson was additionally convicted in connection with the murders of Gary Hinman and stuntman Donald “Shorty” Shea.

Hinman was a friend of the “Family” who Manson suspected of having money in stocks and bonds – “Family” members were sent to Hinman’s house on July 25th 1969, to convince him to join them and turn over his assets. Hinman’s refusal to comply ultimately led to his murder. Donald Shea was later murdered after the ranch the “Family” lived on was raided by the local Sheriff – Manson suspected Shea was involved in the set-up of the raid.

Manson was originally sentenced to death in 1971 but this was modified to life imprisonment in 1977 after California abolished the death penalty. He eventually served nine life terms in California prisons and was denied parole 12 times between 1978 and 2012, not being eligible for his parole hearing until 2027.

Since 1989, Manson had been housed in the Protective Housing Unit at California State Prison, Corcoran, in Kings County. The unit houses inmates whose safety would be endangered if they were to be housed amongst the general prison population. He had also been housed at San Quentin State Prison, California Medical Facility in Vacaville, Folsom State Prison and Pelican Bay State Prison.

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