January 25 1971 - All 4 Defendants in Manson Trial Found Guilty


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WHAT HAPPENED? (1)


Charles Manson, born November 12 1934, was a criminal and cult leader in the 1960s. He formed the famous "Manson Family", which was a cult based in California.


His followers committed a total of 9 murders at 4 different locations in July and August 1969, and while he did not kill anyone, his followers did the killing at his behest. He wanted to start a race war.


In 1971, he and 3 of the young women who helped to carry out the murders were found guilty of murder and conspiracy to commit murder. They were all put in jail for life.



CRIMES!


Charles was first named "no name Maddox" after being born in Cincinnati, OH to his mother, a 16 year old named Kathleen Maddox. His biological father left on "army business" after he found out Kathleen was pregnant and never returned.


While pregnant with him, she married William Eugene Manson. They divorced in 1937, a few years after they were married.


Manson was often left alone for days being watched by different babysitters.


His mother and a friend got arrested for robbing a wealthy man, and was sentenced to 5 years in jail. Manson referred to the days after she got out of jail as the happiest of his life.


She married again and drank a lot, and Charles didn't go to school and became a thief. His mom sent him to a school for delinquents run by Catholics. He hated it and he tried to come home but she sent him back. He spent Christmas that year with his aunt and uncle where he was caught stealing a gun.


I can keep this section short by saying this: He committed a bunch of crimes, and he got sent to a bunch of different boys homes or schools or juvenile centers. He committed armed robberies and stole cars. He eventually escaped from one of his boys schools after being raped.


He was determined to be illiterate and antisocial, but had a high IQ.


When he was in jail, his aunt said that he could come live with her when he got out. He did, but he was caught raping a boy at knifepoint. He had 8 other serious offenses "2 involving homosexual acts". At that point, he was moved to a maximum security prison in Chilocothe, OH.


In 1955, he married a waitress, got her pregnant and moved to LA in a stolen car. But, he went to jail again and his wife left with the child for another man while he was behind bars.


He married again to a girl named Leona, but soon after violated probation from a previous charge and had to serve another 10 years.


In 1967, he was 32 years old and had spent more than half of those years in prisons or other correctional institutions.


Once out of prison, he quickly started attracting young women and some young men around California. He told his followers during the summer of '69 there would be a race war called "Helter Skelter".


But, because he was full of shit, it didn't happen so he decided to start it by having his followers commit murders that would look racially motivated.



THE SHARON TATE MURDERS


On August 8 1969, 4 members of the "family" invaded the home of Sharon Tate. Her husband, Roman Polanski, was out of the country at the time.


Sharon Tate, who was 8.5 months pregnant, was an aspiring actress who had some credits to her name and would likely have become a movie star. Also at her home was her friend, former lover and hairstylist Jay Sebring, Polanski's friend and aspiring screenwriter Wojciech Frykowski, and his lover Abigail Folger, heiress to Folger's Coffee.


The "family" members were Tex Watson, Susan Atkins, Linda Kasabian and Patricia Krenwinkel. The phone lines were cut. They parked their car and began walking up to the house.


There, they saw Steven Parent who was visiting the property's caretaker. He was shot and killed.


Kasabian waited by the car and did not participate in the murders. Tex cut through the screen to enter the house, and then let Krensinkel and Atkins in the front door. They forced everyone into the living room.


He tied Tate and Sebring together by their necks to sling over the ceiling beams. Sebring protested, asking them to let Tate live as she was nearly 9 months pregnant, but they shot him and stabbed him 7 times.


Folger went to get her purse to give them money. Later, she escaped and fled to the pool area, but she was caught and stabbed 28 times.


Frykowski also escaped, running out to the porch with his hands bound, but he was hit over the head and shot before he could make it further. He was then stabbed 51 times.


At this point, Kasabian tried to tell Atkins that someone was coming so they would stop, hearing the horrifying murder take place from the car, but they continued.


Tate pleaded to live long enough to give birth to her child, but she was stabbed 16 times. To achieve Manson's ask of "leav[ing] a sign -- something witchy", they wrote "PIG" in Tate's blood on the wall.



THE LABIANCA MURDERS


The following night, claiming the murders at the Tate house were too messy, Manson brought the same 4 family members plus Leslie Van Houten to the home of supermarket executive Leno LaBianca and his wife Rosemary's home.


They brought both of them into the living room. Leno was stabbed with a chrome-plated bayonet 12 times, and they carved "WAR" into his abdomen.


Rosemary escaped the living room and was swinging a lamp around at the female attackers. Tex came in and he stabbed her.


Manson had demanded everyone be involved in the murders, so everyone stabbed Rosemary at least one time. She had 41 post-mortem stab wounds. Van Houten had stabbed her the most.


When they left the home, they left the weapons plunged into their victims and wrote "Death to Pigs" and "Helter Skelter".



THE TRIAL


Manson was tried in a single trial with Leslie Van Houten, Susan Atkins and Patricia Krenwinkel. Tex Watson was tried at a later date.


On the first day of the trial, Manson carved an X into his forehead, and the other 3 did too. The trial was extremely rowdy. They were constantly interrupted, mocked and many of his followers who weren't on trial had to be removed.


Members of his family camped outside, holding a vigil because they weren't allowed inside. Many said they'd burn themselves alive if he were convicted.


Linda Kasabian, who waited by the car during the Tate murders and was only involved because she was the only one with a drivers license, was the primary witness.


Nixon had made a statement saying Manson was guilty somehow, either directly or indirectly, and the 3 defendants chanted in unison, "Nixon says we're guilty. So why go on?" Manson tried to kill the judge presiding over the trial while the jury was present, and then said his head should be cut off. The other 3 defendants started chanting in latin during this time. So, the trial was insane.


The State of California rested its case after 22 weeks of presenting evidence. Surprisingly, the defense said they had no witnesses and rested their case, too.


Atkins, Krenwinkel and Van Houten wanted to testify saying that Manson had nothing to do with it. Manson testified, saying he didn't teach them but YOU (gesturing to society) taught them, and they were just people society didn't want until he came along. He said that everyone was just as guilty for the Vietnam War as he was for the murders. He told the girls they did not need to testify.


On November 30th, Leslie Van Houten's attorney didn't show up, and he was found dead. He had disagreed with Leslie's plan to testify saying Manson wasn't involved. Many think other members of the family murdered him.


On January 25th, 1971, Manson, Krenwinkel and Atkins were found guilty of all 7 murders (Tate, Sebring, Parent, Frykowski, Folger, Leno and Rosemary LaBianca) and Van Houten was found guilty of both LaBianca murders.


During sentencing, each of the girls took the stand and provided graphic details of the crimes, claiming they did it all at the direction of Linda Kasabian. They showed no remorse.


Manson shaved his head saying the devil was bald (fair point, I guess). It was recommended the girls not also shave their heads because it would show how much influence he had over them, as if carving X's in their foreheads didn't accomplish that enough. However, when they came in to hear their sentences, they were all bald.


All 4 were sentenced to death. On the way out, Atkins shouted to the crowd that they'd better lock their doors and watch their kids.



WHERE ARE THEY NOW: MURDEROUS CULT EDITION (2)


Charles Manson: Manson died at the age of 83 in 2017. His death sentence was reduced to life after California overturned capital punishment. He had hundreds of rule violations in prison and was denied parole 12 times. He got a marriage license with his 27 year old lover, but they did not end up marrying within the timeframe of the license.


Susan Atkins: Susan was a topless dancer when she met Manson, and was always closest to him. She was considered the scariest of all of the family members and was the one who stabbed and killed pregnant Tate. In jail, she embraced Christianity and apologized for her crimes. She advocated for her release, but was denied 13 times. She married twice in prison. When she got sick, she argued for compassionate release but was denied on the grounds of she murdered a pregnant woman remorselessly. She died in prison in 2009 at age 61.


Patricia Krenwinkel: Krenwinkel, now 72, was a secretary before she met Manson, and after she met him, she quit the following day to go with him. She condemned him later in her life and feels she was a coward and that her 19-year-old self doesn't reflect who she is. After the death of Susan Atkins, she became the longest serving female inmate in California. She is a model inmate and involved in rehabilitation programs. She was denied parole many times, but will be eligible again in 2022.


Leslie Van Houten: Van Houten was a former homecoming princess who had it all, and then went on to hold down her victim while stabbing her to death. She claims she saw Manson as Jesus Christ. She has been disciplinary-free her entire time in prison. Now 70, she says she is deeply ashamed of what she did, and the fact that she fell under his influence at all. Parole said she could be freed 3 different times, but each time it has been overruled by the California Governor. She is still in prison.


Tex Watson: Though tried at a different trial, Tex was found guilty of murder was well and sentenced to death-turned-life in prison like the rest of them. He described himself as Manson's right-hand man and was heavily involved in both murders. He married, divorced and fathered 4 children since being in prison, and has become an ordained minister. He says he deeply regrets his part in the murders and he hasn't had any discipline in prison since 1973. He's been denied parole 17 times.


Linda Kasabian: Kasabian left an unhappy marriage at the age of 21, fell for Tex and got involved with the family. She was only involved in the murders because she had a drivers license. She received full immunity for testifying against the others at their trial. As of 1994, she's married and lives a quiet life on the east coast.


Though all of his followers who murdered for him have denounced him and deeply regret their involvement now, they brutally murdered 7 people for no reason and are rightfully going to be behind bars for the rest of their lives.


Charles Manson and his cult are, to this day, still one of the most fascinating pieces of American history, and he was found guilty of murder 49 years ago today.



REFERENCES:

1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Manson

2. https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2019-07-30/where-are-they-now-charles-mansons-family-decades-after-horrific-murders


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