Charles Manson orchestrated some of the most notorious murders of the 1960s. Born in Ohio in 1934, he had a troubled start in life, spending the majority of his early years in prison before founding the notorious Manson Family in 1967.
Manson had outlandish ideas which appealed to misfits who rallied around him in San Fransisco. They gained worldwide notoriety after Manson ordered them to commit a series of murders in the summer of 1969, resulting in the deaths of seven people.
Now it has emerged that Manson has died after spending more than 40 years behind bars.
The case has fascinated generations because Manson was convicted of murder despite not being present at any of the murder scenes. He was initially sentenced to death, but his sentence was changed after the death penalty was briefly outlawed in California.
Manson’s crimes were all the more difficult to fathom because they were committed by young women who came from seemingly stable middle-class backgrounds. However, Manson was able to warp their minds and inspire them to do the unthinkable.
One of their victims was 26-year-old movie star Sharon Tate, pictured below, who was eight months pregnant at the time of her death.
Manson was convicted of murder along with four of his followers in 1971 – Tex Watson, Susan Atkins, Patricia Krenwinkel and Leslie Van Houten. The three women are pictured below singing one of Manson’s songs during their trail.
Their notorious killing spree began on the night of August 8, 1969, in Los Angeles. Under Manson’s orders, Tex Watson took the three women to Tate’s residence and ordered them to “totally destroy everyone in [it], as gruesome as you can”.
Tate’s sister, Debra, revealed to TMZ that she was informed of Manson’s death by prison officials soon after it took place. The serial killer “died of natural causes at 8:13 pm (0213 GMT Monday) on Sunday” at a Kern County hospital.
The murders were committed after Manson interpreted the Beatles’ song ‘Helter Skelter’ to foretell an upcoming race war between white people and black people. He hoped that the series of high profile murders would help initiate this war.
Manson then planed for him and his followers to go into hiding during the war. They would then take control of the world from black people, who he predicted would win the race war but be unable to rule successfully.
Manson is pictured below with his then 26-year-old fiancée in 2014. They never married after he discovered that she’d only consented to the union so that she could turn his corpse into a tourist attraction.
The Manson killings took place between August 8-9, 1969. Alongside Sharon Tate and four of her friends who had been visiting her home on the night of August 8, the Manson Family killed the wealthy couple Leno and Rosemary LaBianca on August 9.
Tate is pictured with her husband movie director Roman Polanski on their wedding day in January 1968.
The crimes sent shockwaves around Los Angeles, and many prominent movie stars chose to temporarily leave the area until the killers were reprimanded, which eventually happened through a chance series of events at the end of 1969.
Once incarcerated, Manson revealed in his notoriety, having achieved the fame he’d longed for when he tried and failed to become a musician. It was this ambition which drew him to San Francisco after he was released from prison in 1967.
Manson frequently played up to people’s belief that he was the Devil incarnate, saying things such as, “What the hell I wanna go off and go to work for? Work for what? Money? I got all the money in the world. I’m the king, man. I run the underworld, guy.”
Manson’s health had been in steady decline throughout 2017. In January, he was admitted to hospital suffering from intestinal bleeding, but returned to prison after being deemed too weak for surgery. He was hospitalized again on November 12.
None of those incarcerated for the Manson Family’s crimes have been released from prison so far. However, Leslie Van Houten, who arguably played the smallest role in the killings, was granted parole in September of this year.