Charles Manson the one man almost every person in the entire world can recognize. He and his family committed what are thought to be some of the most shockingly gruesome murders in history.
After his release from prison in early 1967, Charles Manson made his way to San Francisco, and started recruiting people to join The Family.
By August of 1968 Charles moved his group, who had earned the name “The Family“, to the famed Spahn Ranch. Sex and drugs were the rule of the day and were a large factor in the phenomenon of The Family. Members were permitted to live on the ranch if they worked to fix it up.
Obsessed with the Beatles, Manson claimed their White album was filled with personal instructions to The Family. He warned The Family about “Helter Skelter,” a term he used in his predictions of the race wars that would soon happen between the whites and the blacks. His theory was that the whites would be wiped out by the blacks. The Family began preparing a place where they could survive these wars.
Charles “Tex” Watson was born in Texas in 1945. He was described as an all-American boy who had been a college student before he dropped out, heading to California. Soon after he joined Charles Manson and The Family, he allegedly became Manson’s right hand man. When tried separately for the Tate and LaBianca murders, he, too, was found guilty and given the death penalty. Tex was up for parole in 2008, but was denied and will not be eligible again until 2013.
Lynette Alice Fromme, nick-named Squeaky, was born in 1948. She began dancing as a young child. She was a bright young woman, but rapidly lost her way once she started dabbling with drugs and drinking. After taking part in an assassination attempt on President Ford in September, 1975, Squeaky was tried and sentenced to life in prison. She served 34 years before being released in August, 2009.
Susan Denise Atkins was born in 1948. She experienced a rough childhood, for according to her, both of her parents were alcoholics. After her mother’s death in 1963 from cancer, Atkins’ father moved the family often, looking for work. She did not do well in school, eventually dropping out at eighteen. When she met Manson in 1967, he nicknamed her Sadie Mae Glutz. In March, 1971, Atkins was also sentenced to death.
In 2008 she was reportedly diagnosed with brain cancer and given six months to live. Her lawyers argued for her early release from prison and a subsequent move into a hospital. Atkins died while incarcerated on September 24, 2009, after being denied parole on September 2, 2009, for the 13th time.
Linda Kasabian was born in 1949. She enjoyed a good home life until her father left his family and her mother remarried. Kasabian clashed with her stepfather and left home at the age of 16, after dropping out of school to look for God. She became a hippie, and traveled the country, moving from one group to another. She started using acid and LSD, popular drugs at the time. The prosecutors offered Kasabian immunity if she would testify in the Manson trials.
Patricia Dianne Krenwinkel was born in 1947. Her childhood was extremely difficult, as she suffered from endocrine deficiency, which caused hair to grow all over her body, along with being overweight. Reportedly, she suffered much bullying from peers. Krenwinkel did manage to graduate from high school. She, too, was convicted on March 29, 1971, and sentenced to life in prison. As of 2008 she had been up for parole 11 times and subsequently denied each time.
Leslie Louise Van Houten was born in 1949. On July 6, 2010, she was denied parole for the 19th time. She continues her incarceration at the California Institution for Women where Krenwinkel is also imprisoned.
Read part 3 for more details.