Notorious cult leader Charles Manson dead at 83
LOS ANGELES, November 20, 2017 — America’s most notorious cult leader died in prison on Monday. Charles Manson, the 1960s cult leader convinced his followers to commit murders that rocked Los Angeles and shocked the country.
The California Department of Corrections, reports that Manson died of natural causes. Manson’s violence struck California in August 1969, which claimed the lives of seven people, leading him and several of his followers to prison for most of the remainder of their lives.
Manson served nine life terms in California prisons and was denied parole multiple times. His fame was boosted by books and films.
“He was the dictatorial ruler of the (Manson) family, the king, the Maharaja. And the members of the family were slavishly obedient to him,” former Manson prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi told CNN in 2015.
Manson’s brutal murders started on August 9, 1969, when his followers killed actress Sharon Tate. Tate was eight months’ pregnant, they also killed celebrity hairstylist named Jay Sebring; coffee fortune heiress Abigail Folger; writer Wojciech Frykowski; and Steven Parent, a friend of the family’s caretaker. Within two nights, the killers inflicted seven .22-caliber gunshot wounds and 169 stab wounds.
On June 16, 1970, Manson and three of his followers — Susan Atkins, Patricia Krenwinkel and Leslie Van Houten — went on trial in Los Angeles. During the trial, Manson and his followers created a circus-like atmosphere in the court with singing, giggling, angry outbursts and even carving X’s in their foreheads.
Manson was originally sentenced to death, but the death penalty was temporarily abolished in the state, leading to his concurrent sentences were commuted to life in prison. While serving time in prison, Manson would listen to the radio and began writing songs and performing in prison shows.
After moving to California, Manson met Hinman, a music teacher who introduced him to Dennis Wilson of the Beach Boys. Wilson had introduced Manson to record producer Terry Melcher, the son of actress Doris Day. After initially showing interest in Manson’s music, Melcher declined to work with him further.