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Charles Manson, Cult Leader and Convicted Murderer, Dead, at 83

Posted: Sunday, November 19, 2017 – 10:00 PM

By Victoria Talbot

Charles Manson, the man convicted of murdering Sharon Tate and six other people in the notorious summer of 1969, has died of natural causes in a California hospital.

“Inmate Charles Manson, 83, died of natural causes at 8:13 p.m. on Sunday, November 19, 2017, at Kern County hospital,” according to a statement released by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. 

“Inmate Manson was admitted to state prison from Los Angeles County on April 22, 1971, for seven counts of first-degree murder and one count of conspiracy to commit murder for the August 1969 deaths of Abigail Folger, Wojciech Frykowski, Steven Earl Paren, Sharon Tate Polanski, who was eight months pregnant, Jay Sebring, Leno La Bianca and Rosemary Bianca.

“Inmate Manson was originally sentenced to death. In 1972, the Superior Court of the State of California in the County of Los Angeles vacated and set aside the death penalty pursuant to People v. Anderson (1972). The decision caused all capital sentences in California to be commuted to life in prison. Manson’s death sentence was modified to life in prison on February 2, 1977. California did not have the life-without-parole sentence at the time.

“California inmates who receive a sentence of life without the possibility of parole are entitled to parole consideration hearings after serving the legally required minimum term. Inmate Manson had been denied parole 12 times between November 16, 1978, and April 11, 2012: the last parole hearing he attended was March 27, 1997. He was not eligible to have another parole hearing until 2027.

“Inmate Manson had been housed in the Protective Housing Unit at California State Prison-Corcoran since 1989. The unit houses inmates whose safety would be endangered by general population housing. He had also been housed at San Quentin State Prison, California Medical Facility, Folsom State Prison and Pelican Bay Prison.”

Manson is the subject of the book Helter Skelter: The True Story of the Manson Murders by Vincent Bugliosi and Curt Gentry, written in 1974 and subsequently made into a movie.

Bugliosi was the Los Angeles prosecutor who convicted Manson and three of his female followers, Susan Atkins, Patricia Krenwinkel and Leslie Van Houten, of the murders, though Manson was not present when they were committed.

Charles “Tex” Watkins was later convicted.

Manson was the leader of a cult he called, “The Manson Family.” He planned and orchestrated the murders, sending his young, disenfranchised followers first to the home of Sharon Tate to kill Sebring, Frykowski, Folger, Parent and Tate -her husband, Roman Polanski, was not home- and then, the next night, to the La Bianca home. 

Helter Skelter remains the best-selling true-crime book in history, and has been the subject of two TV movies. Buglosi won the coveted Edgar Allen Poe award for Best True Crime Book of the year from the Mystery Writers of America.

Krenwinkel, last denied parole in June, is the state’s longest-serving female inmate. Susan Atkins died in prison in 2009.


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