Thursday, December 31, 2009
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Man discovers Charles Manson is his real dad
* By staff writers
* From: news.com.au
* November 23, 2009 4:34PM
AN adopted child was determined to find his real parents, but he wasn't prepared to discover that he was related to one of the most infamous figures of the 20th Century, serial killer Charles Manson.
* Man discovers real dad is Charles Manson
* Has been exchanging mail with serial killer
* Has considered having phone contact
A MAN who went in search of his biological father was shocked to learn it was famed serial killer Charles Manson.
Matthew Roberts, a 41-year-old DJ who lives in Los Angeles, said the shock of discovering his father sent him into depression.
"I didn't want to believe it. I was frightened and angry. It's like finding out that Adolf Hitler is your father,” Mr Roberts told The Sun.
"I'm a peaceful person - trapped in the face of a monster."
Despite his revulsion Mr Roberts has been exchanging mail with Manson, who is serving life in Corcoran State Prison in California over nine murders committed by his “Family” of followers in 1969.
“He sends me weird stuff and always signs it with his swastika,” Mr Roberts said.
“At first I was stunned and depressed. I wasn't able to speak for a day.
"I remember not being able to eat."
Mr Roberts grew up in Rockford, Illinois but didn’t know he was adopted until his sister told him at age 10.
Despite his adoptive father telling him “nothing good” would come of discovering who his real parents were, Mr Roberts used a social services agency to locate his mother, Terry.
She confirmed Mr Roberts was adopted and told him his birth name was Lawrence Alexander but would not reveal the last name.
Eventually Terry relented and revealed that Mr Roberts' father was Manson, who she claims raped her in 1967 after she had succumbed to his manic charisma.
"She even said, 'You look just like him', Mr Roberts said recalling the shocking revelation.
Manson has confirmed that he could be Mr Roberts’ father and that he remembers Terry.
The former cult leader wrote to Mr Roberts that: "The truth is the truth. The truth hurts."
Mr Roberts fears he may have inherited some of Manson’s characteristics but insists he is a very peaceful person.
"I'm not nuts but I've got a little bit of it,” Mr Roberts said.
“It's scary and upsetting. If I get worked up, my eyes get really big and that's really freaked some people out before.
"I've tried to tone that down quite a bit. I don't like having that effect on people.
"I don't even like the fact that I'm big. It makes me even scarier. My hero is Gandhi. I'm an extremely non-violent, peaceful person and a vegetarian.
"I don't even kill bugs. I've had long hair all my life. I could make it go away, but I can't let the world and their fears change me."
Mr Roberts has a prison phone number for Manson but says a “subconscious block” stops him from calling.
"If I did talk to Charlie on the phone, I would say, 'I truly understand what it's like to be you, more than anyone could ever imagine on so many levels,'” Mr Roberts said.
"He's my biological father - I can't help but have some kind of emotional connection. That's the hardest thing of all - feeling love for a monster who raped my mother.
"I don't want to love him, but I don't want to hate him either."
Saturday, November 21, 2009
Do you think that this is it for the TLB Case?
I mean, seriously, the books that come out suck. The TV shows are lamed and defanged.
Nobody asks Kasabian why she did things that she probably didn't do.
Nobody asks Gypsy about her life of crime.
Nobody asks BUGliosi about his mental illnesses.
Actually, nobody asks anyone anything anymore.
My guess is we will have to wait for BUG to pass away and then maybe people like Jakobsen will start telling the truth.
What do you all think?
Friday, November 13, 2009
Thursday, November 12, 2009
At 75, Charles Manson still has power to influence others
- Gray Wolf moved so he could be closer to California prison Manson calls home
- Prison has shaped Manson's views on preserving the environment, Wolf says
- Officials say Manson still gets mail, spends his days playing guitar, on phone with followers
- "The main goal is to basically save life on the planet Earth from the humans," follower says
Corcoran, California (CNN) -- At 75, Charles Manson has spent more than half his life in prison for masterminding the notorious Helter Skelter killing spree that left actress Sharon Tate and six others dead in Los Angeles during the summer of 1969.
Manson spent his 75th birthday this week at the state prison in Corcoran, California, where he is in the protective housing unit. Some records indicate that Manson was born on November 12, but Manson's current associates and other records indicate his birthday was on Wednesday, November 11.
"He spent the day the same way he spends every day in prison," said Terry Thornton, spokeswoman for the state department of corrections. "Lately, the prison has told me, he doesn't come out of his cell very often."
She added that Manson didn't mention his birthday to anyone, and only emerged from his cell for about 20 minutes on Wednesday.
While his appearance has changed significantly from the wide-eyed cult leader who appeared on the cover of Life magazine in 1969, Manson continues to wield influence over some who consider him a wizened messenger.
Prison officials say Manson still gets lots of mail and spends most of his days singing and playing guitar in a high security unit. He also spends time speaking to associates like "Gray Wolf," 60, and "Star," a 24-year-old fast food employee.
Wolf said Manson gave him his name -- just as he named members of his infamous "Family" of followers during the 1960s. Wolf said he moved close to the prison in Corcoran so he could be near the man he believes possesses deep insight into environmental issues.
"Manson thinks the destruction of the environment is much more serious than we are being made out to believe," Wolf told CNN. "Our government keeps covering up problems with pollution, with coal, with automobiles. Charlie says we need to get back to the horse."
Vincent Bugliosi, the man who prosecuted Manson and sent him to prison for life, is not surprised that Manson continues to hold sway over some people.
"This is just a microcosm of the tremendous interest and fascination that people still have with Charles Manson," Bugliosi said. "The Manson Family no longer exists. There's no group calling itself the Manson Family on the outside. And these people -- I wouldn't say they're followers of Manson, that's too strong a word --they're supporters."
Their names and words sound similar to those of Manson's past followers.
Gray believes Manson's time in prison has given him a unique perspective on the environment.
"You can characterize prison as an ashram or a retreat where you have all this time to be by yourself and think and so he's had time to turn these issues over and over in his head," Gray said.
"A legend has been made about Charlie Manson and there's a media image that people make money off of every day, but it has nothing to do with Charlie personally. He is a personable person," he added.
Star also got her name from Manson, and moved from Illinois to be closer to him.
"He's really witty and really sharp and he's got a lot of good humor," she said. "He's got a weird sense of humor but I like it, it fits with me."
The conversations range from small talk about life in prison to issues related to ATWA -- an acronym for Air, Trees, Water, Animals -- the ecological philosophy espoused by Manson and his followers, according to Wolf.
What's really criminal, they say, is the way the environment is being poisoned.
"Crime is anything that's done against your survival. Any sin against your life is crime. The problem is the atmosphere is dying, anything that sins against the air is a sin against your life, anybody that sins against the air should be considered a criminal and any sin against the air should be considered a crime," Manson said in a recorded phone conversation.
In a recent recorded conversation with Star, Manson discussed the flooding in Malaysia:
"They had some bad rains and floods and a lot of people in trouble over there, so we're sending them packages to help take care of them. They are half Muslim and half Christians so we have to hold a balance," he said in a recorded conversation. "The way we live is freedom of religion so we don't want [any] war against people. We want a war against pollution. A war against people isn't going to help anyone, a war against pollution will help everyone."
Star says she was drawn to the man she described as a "monk in a monastery" by his environmental views.
"There's a lot of people all around the world that would say they support Charles Manson and his vision of ATWA," she said.
"The goal, really, the main goal is to basically save life on the planet Earth from the humans," she said. "We have a key to make this goal accomplished, and that key is Charlie Manson."
But Bugliosi says there's a darker attraction to Manson that reaches beyond the green movement.
"There's a certain mystique that has developed around Manson," he said. "And one reason is that the very name Manson has come to be a metaphor for evil. He's come to represent the dark and malignant side of humanity, for whatever reason, people are fascinated by pure, unalloyed evil."
CNN's Emanuella Grinberg and Ann O'Neill contributed to this story.
I've gotten a few emails asking about Bruce Davis' upcoming parole hearing. It's like his 592nd and he's married and has a stepdaughter and would like to be set free into society again.
The argument I hear most often is that he hasn't owned up to these other murders and therefore doesn't deserve release into polite society. Doreen Gault, Scientologists, Joel Pugh, etc etc.
Personally I don't even know if he's guilty of any of these others. It feels like this is just BUG weaving a tapestry of masturbatory lies and fantasy. BUG knows a convicted murderer has no claim for defamation, so he alleged whatever the fuck he wanted to in his novel and it has taken on a life of its own as the "Official" story.
That's not to say that Davis is a hell of a nice guy or anything. He for sure was there at Hinman. He for sure knew all about Lotsapoppa and TLB. He for sure was intimately involved in Shorty Shea. And if nothing else, he confuses the shit out of me in the Hendrickson documentary because he looks and sounds like Charlie.
But I don't really care to fight his parole hearing.
You see, I've always been firm in my belief that none of the men are getting out. Not in this day and age. Maybe when they had their first parole hearing.
But the Bug-based legend of Manson is now fully permeated throughout the culture. It's done for these guys. Clem/ Adam Gabriel managed to convince people to release him in the middle of the night because he was not in his right mind. What that shows me is more about how fearful the authorities were that Shorty might still be alive than anything else.
No one is letting a member of the Manson Family out ever again. Orca Tate can come get her 30 pieces of Silver TV Fame at each hearing, but it ain't because of her that Davis will be denied.
He can thank his old friend Charlie.
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Six whole weeks and not a single posting here on the only Official Blog in the case. I would have to check, but I think that's the longest we've had without something brilliant and astonishing to bring to you all.
Sure, I've been busy. It's hard out there for a pimp. And I don't make the rent money from typing to you all. Homey makes it the old fashioned way, one quarter at a time.
So I knew I was going to have to broach my reasoning here, and so I wondered what it actually was. And voila, it became clear.
The Col is frustrated.
I'm frustrated that in all the bullshit coverage of the bullshit 40th Anniversary the only new items to come out where that Linda went over to Parent's car and Linda demanded the immunity from prosecution. Interesting tidbits, but nothing new.
You mean after all this time NO ONE is willing to tell the truth? The closest we got to reality was when addled Larry King asked Linda the obvious question, "Why did you go the second night knowing what you know?" and Bug changed the subject.
That's all we get?
The Col is frustrated. He now believes there might be some new explosive information in Tom O'Neill's book. But when is it coming out? No one knows. The last Manson book didn't even come out in the US. Sure it wasn't good, but....
The Col is frustrated. Do we live our lives in easily digested fairy tale morsels? Is it possible that people like Mary, Bobby and others have forgotten what happened and now just remember "their" versions? Why does NOT A SINGLE media venue point out that the BUG demonstrated mentally disturbed behavior BEFORE and AFTER the TLB trials?
The Col is frustrated...the burden of running the Official Site is a hard one. All those You Tube videos deleted because JimNY Savage is a crybaby asswipe. That was a lot of work. Bret's site is up and down like a YO YO and hasn't been updated this quarter. Mark Turner's site is like People Magazine. Long forgotten idiots like Wheat IM and email the Col insanity and banality.
The Col is frustrated.
Hopefully this post means I have overcome the frustration and am BACK.
But it has not been easy days on this case. Tons of coverage with nothing to show for it. Depressing even.
Thank you for your interest.
Friday, September 25, 2009
Charles Manson follower Susan Atkins dies
By LINDA DEUTSCH, AP Special Correspondent Linda Deutsch, Ap Special Correspondent Fri Sep 25, 8:26 am ET
LOS ANGELES – Susan Atkins, a follower of cult leader Charles Manson whose remorseless witness stand confession to killing pregnant actress Sharon Tate in 1969 shocked the world, has died. She was 61 and had been suffering from brain cancer.
Atkins' death comes less than a month after a parole board turned down the terminally ill woman's last chance at freedom on Sept. 2. She was brought to the hearing on a gurney and slept through most of it.
California Department of Corrections spokeswoman Terry Thornton said that Atkins died late Thursday night. She had been diagnosed with brain cancer in 2008, had a leg amputated and was given only a few months to live.
She underwent brain surgery, and in her last months was paralyzed and had difficulty speaking. But she managed to speak briefly at the Sept. 2 hearing, reciting religious verse with the help of her husband, attorney James Whitehouse.
She had been transferred to a skilled nursing facility at the California Central Women's Facility at Chowchilla exactly one year before she died.
Tate, the 26-year-old actress who appeared in the movie "Valley of the Dolls" and was the wife of famed director Roman Polanski, was one of seven murdered in two Los Angeles homes during the Manson cult's bloody rampage in August 1969.
Atkins was the first of the convicted killers to die. Manson and three others involved in the murders — Patricia Krenwinkel, Leslie Van Houten and Charles "Tex" Watson — remain imprisoned under life sentences. Thornton said that at the time of Atkins death she had been in prison longer than any woman currently incarcerated in California.
Atkins, who confessed from the witness stand during her trial, had apologized for her acts numerous times over the years. But 40 years after the murders, she learned that few had forgotten or forgiven what she and other members of the cult had done.
Debra Tate, the slain actress's younger sister, told the parole commissioners Sept. 2 that she "will pray for (Atkins') soul when she draws her last breath, but until then I think she should remain in this controlled situation." Debra Tate noted that she would have a 40-year-old nephew if her sister had lived.
Atkins' prosecutor, Vincent Bugliosi, had spoken out earlier in favor of release, saying the mercy requested was "minuscule" because Atkins was on her deathbed.
Atkins and her co-defendants were originally sentenced to death but their sentences were reduced to life in prison when capital punishment was briefly outlawed by the U.S. Supreme Court in the 1970s.
During the sensational 10-month trial, Atkins, Manson and co-defendants Krenwinkel and Van Houten maintained their innocence. But once they were convicted, the so-called "Manson girls" confessed in graphic detail.
They tried to absolve Manson, the ex-convict who had gathered a "family" of dropouts and runaways to a ranch outside Los Angeles, where he cast himself as the Messiah and led them in an aberrant lifestyle fueled by drugs and communal sex.
Watson had a separate trial and was convicted.
One night in August 1969, Manson dispatched Atkins and others to a wealthy residential section of Los Angeles, telling them, as they recalled, to "do something witchy."
They went to the home of Tate and her husband. He was not home, but Tate, who was 8 1/2 months pregnant, and four others were killed. "Pigs" was scrawled on a door in blood.
The next night, a wealthy grocer and his wife were found stabbed to death in their home across town. "Helter Skelter" was written in blood on the refrigerator.
"I was stoned, man, stoned on acid," Atkins testified during the trial's penalty phase.
"I don't know how many times I stabbed (Tate) and I don't know why I stabbed her," she said. "She kept begging and pleading and begging and pleading and I got sick of listening to it, so I stabbed her."
She said she felt "no guilt for what I've done. It was right then and I still believe it was right." Asked how it could be right to kill, she replied in a dreamy voice, "How can it not be right when it's done with love?"
The matronly, gray-haired Atkins who appeared before a parole board in 2000 cut a far different figure than that of the cocky young defendant some 30 years earlier.
"I don't have to just make amends to the victims and families," she said softly. "I have to make amends to society. I sinned against God and everything this country stands for." She said she had found redemption in Christianity.
The last words she spoke in public at the September hearing were to say in unison with her husband: "My God is an amazing God."
She spent 37 years in the California Institution for Women at Frontera. When she fell ill, she was moved to a medical unit at the Central California Women's Facility in Chowchilla. She died there.
Susan Denise Atkins was born May 7, 1948, in the Los Angeles suburb of San Gabriel. Her mother was stricken with cancer and died when she was 15. Her father, reportedly an alcoholic, sent her and her brother to live with relatives.
While still in her teens, she ran away to San Francisco where she wound up dancing in a topless bar and using drugs. She moved into a commune in the Haight Ashbury district and it was there that she met Manson.
He gave her a cult name, Sadie Mae Glutz, and, when she became pregnant by a "family" member, he helped deliver the baby boy, naming it Zezozoze Zadfrack. His whereabouts are unknown.
The Manson slayings remained unsolved for three months, until Atkins confessed to a cellmate following her arrest on an unrelated charge. Police found Manson and other cult members living in a ranch commune in Death Valley, outside Los Angeles.
Besides Tate, their other victims were celebrity hairdresser Jay Sebring, coffee heiress Abigail Folger, filmmaker Voityck Frykowski and Steven Parent, a friend of Tate's caretaker; and grocery owners Leno and Rosemary LaBianca. Atkins also was convicted with Manson of still another murder, of musician Gary Hinman, in July 1969.
Atkins married twice while in prison. Her first husband, Donald Lee Laisure, purported to be an eccentric Texas millionaire. They quickly divorced. Whitehouse, her second husband, is a Harvard Law School graduate and had recently served as one of her attorneys.
Monday, September 07, 2009
I cannot embed this because the Youtube guy who illegally posted it doesn't allow it. Not sure why. Probably retarded. You can start watching it
Now we can play the same game of obviousness- I'll start and you can finish in the comments....
1- BUG jumps in to make sure Linda sticks to the script
2- Linda stays in disguise for no reason
3- Linda's new story makes her a worse accessory than ever
4- Even addled Larry thinks she should have done something and been charged.
5- Debra now has a full on fantasy about her involvement, with no mention of being disowned by her family and refusing a proper burial for her father.
6- Another hour wasted
Southern California -- this just in
Manson follower Susan Atkins loses 13th attempt at freedom -- and it may be her last
September 3, 2009 | 8:16 am
Thirteen times, Manson family member Susan Atkins has asked to be released from prison. And 13 times, the parole board has denied her request.
The latest denial came Wednesday, when the state parole board voted unanimously to deny one of Charles Manson’s fiercest followers her request for “compassionate release” so she could die at home.
Dying of cancer, this might have been her last attempt at freedom, which has met with strong resistance.
“As sad as Mrs. Atkins looks today, it pales against the crime scene photos,” said Patrick Sequeira, an L.A. County deputy district attorney who has opposed the release of the Manson killers at several hearings.
Atkins, 61, has only months to live, doctors say. The issue of mercy has long dogged Atkins. Nearly 40 years ago, actress Sharon Tate begged the knife-wielding killer to spare her life and that of her unborn child. “She asked me to let her baby live,” Atkins told parole officials in 1993. “I told her I didn’t have mercy for her.”
On Wednesday night, the parole board, meeting at the Central California Women’s Facility in Chowchilla, had little mercy for Atkins, who slept on a gurney for much of a hearing that began in the early afternoon.
It was the same result as last year when, despite the presence of a number of supporters and the approval of the prosecutor who put her behind bars, the 12-member California Board of Parole unanimously voted to deny Atkins’ release.
She is serving a life sentence for the slaying of Tate, 26, who was 8 1/2 months' pregnant, and musician Gary Hinman.
She has served 38 years in prison, longer than any other female in the state. The victims’ relatives and supporters opposed Atkins’ release, saying she showed no mercy on Aug. 9, 1969, when she and other Manson followers entered a hilltop Benedict Canyon home and murdered the five people.
A former topless dancer who used to sing in her church choir, Atkins was one of Manson’s most loyal disciples.
After fatally stabbing Tate, prosecutors said, Atkins tasted the actress’ blood and used it to write “PIG” on the front door of the home.
During her trial, which took more than nine months, Atkins seemed to show no remorse and maintained utter devotion to Manson, whom she called “Jesus Christ,” “the devil” and “the soul.”
During sentencing, she taunted the court, saying, “You’d best lock your doors and watch your own kids.”
Atkins is now considered a model prisoner known for helping others. She has been married to an Orange County attorney for 21 years.
In recent years, she was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. One of her legs has been amputated and the other is paralyzed, authorities said.
Some of her supporters have argued that releasing Atkins would save the state substantial amounts of money in medical and prison expenses.
Former Manson prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi said it was time for the state to show Atkins mercy. He told The Times last year that it was wrong to say “just because Susan Atkins showed no mercy to her victims, we therefore are duty-bound to follow her inhumanity and show no mercy to her.”
“She’s already paid substantially for her crime, close to 40 years behind bars. She has terminal cancer. The mercy she was asking for is so minuscule. She’s about to die. It’s not like we’re going to see her down at Disneyland,” said Bugliosi, who wrote the best-selling book “Helter Skelter.”
Atkins was first denied parole in 1976. She will be eligible to go before the parole board again in 2012, but doctors say it’s unlikely she’ll live that long. As she lay on a gurney, death seemed to be on Atkins’ mind. She read from Psalm 23 with her husband, James Whitehouse.
But family members of those killed by Atkins and other members of the Manson clan said she should die behind bars.
“I will pray for her soul when she draws her last breath,” said Debra Tate, the sister of Sharon Tate.
During a parole board hearing last year in Sacramento, supporters of Atkins spoke for more than 90 minutes, offering glowing testimonials of her transformation into a decent human being. But even though they were outnumbered then, family and friends of the Manson victims offered haunting portraits of the pain left in the wake of the killings, and of Atkins’ unmerciful response to Tate as she pleaded with the killer.
-- Richard Winton, Hector Becerra and special correspondent Ann Ellis reporting from Chowchilla
Southern California -- this just in
Manson follower Susan Atkins denied parole
September 2, 2009 | 9:12 pm
Atkins For the second time in as many years, a state parole board voted Wednesday to deny one of Charles Manson’s fiercest followers her request for a “compassionate release” from prison so she can die at home.
Convicted murderer Susan Atkins, 61, is terminally ill with cancer and has only months to live, doctors say. The issue of mercy has long dogged Atkins. Nearly 40 years ago, actress Sharon Tate begged the knife-wielding Atkins to spare her life and that of her unborn child.
“She asked me to let her baby live,” Atkins told parole officials in 1993. “I told her I didn’t have mercy for her.”
On Wednesday night, the parole board meeting at the Central California Women’s Facility in Chowchilla had little mercy for Atkins, who slept on a gurney for much of a hearing that began in the early afternoon.
The result was the same as last year when, despite the presence of a number of supporters and the approval of the prosecutor who put her behind bars, the 12-member California Board of Parole unanimously voted to deny Atkins’ release.
Atkins is serving a life sentence for the slaying of 26-year-old Tate, who was 8 1/2 months pregnant, and musician Gary Hinman. She has served 38 years in prison, longer than any other female in California.
The victims’ relatives and supporters opposed Atkins’ release, saying she showed no mercy Aug. 9, 1969, when she and other young followers of Manson entered a hilltop Benedict Canyon mansion and murdered the five people.
A former topless dancer who used to sing in her church choir, Atkins was one of Manson’s most loyal disciples. After fatally stabbing Tate, prosecutors said, Atkins tasted the actress’ blood and used it to write "PIG" on the front door of the mansion.
During her trial, which took more than nine months, Atkins seemed to show no remorse and maintained utter devotion to Manson, whom she called "Jesus Christ," "the devil" and "the soul." During sentencing, she taunted the court, saying, "You’d best lock your doors and watch your own kids."
-- Richard Winton and Hector Becerra
September 3, 2009, 10:57 am
No Compassionate Release for Manson Follower Involved in Killing Spree
By Robert Mackey
DESCRIPTIONPool photograph/Ben Margot, via Associated Press During a break in her parole hearing on Wednesday, Susan Atkins, a convicted murderer with brain cancer, was comforted by her husband and attorney James Whitehouse in a California prison.
California is not Scotland. That’s the message one British newspaper took from Wednesday’s decision by a California parole board to turn down an application for compassionate release submitted on behalf of Susan Atkins, who is serving a life sentence for her part in the 1969 killing spree carried out by followers of Charles Manson.
In London, The Daily Mail contrasted the decision with one taken two weeks earlier by the Scottish regional government to free Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi, who was convicted of murder for his role in the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland. The Mail’s headline suggested “Scotland Take Note” of the fact that Ms. Atkins lost her bid for parole “DESPITE Being on Her Death Bed.”
In a this brief Twitter update announcing the decision on Wednesday, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation made no mention of the fact that Ms. Atkins has terminal brain cancer:
CDCR’s Board of Parole Hearings today denied parole for convicted mass murderer Susan Atkins
A news release on the department’s Web site noted that this is the second time the board “denied a recommendation for recall of commitment (compassionate release) for Atkins.” On July 15, 2008, the board made the same decision when Ms. Atkins was said to have no more than six months to live.
It seems the board was not moved by the evidence presented by her husband and attorney, James Whitehouse, or by the Web site SusanAtkins.org, which is dedicated to:
Her life, her accomplishments since incarceration, her work with the Church, the Community and the needy, and her eligibility for parole.
Testimony from the family members of her victims seemed to carry more weight. On Thursday, The Associated Press reported that Ms. Atkins “slept through most of the four-hour hearing Wednesday during which her husband-lawyer pleaded for her release and families of victims of the Sharon Tate-LaBianca killings urged that she be kept behind bars until she dies.”
Leaving aside compassion, the board was apparently also not swayed by the more pragmatic argument made last year by a California lawyer who argued that, in general, “incarcerating people who are permanently medically incapacitated is a policy that produces no benefit to taxpayers at astronomical expense.”
Last year, before the board rejected Ms. Atkins’s first request for compassionate release, Debra Tate, a sister of the murdered actress, explained in this video interview that she opposed the release since, “she didn’t show any of her victims any compassion whatsoever — as a matter of fact, she personally killed Sharon, and Sharon was begging for the life of her unborn baby at the time.” This 2008 video report by ABC News includes excerpts from an interview with Ms. Atkins in 2002 in which she said that Mr. Manson is “the one person that is the most difficult person in my life to forgive. I work on that. I don’t want to live a life with any unforgiveness in it.”
The Last Supper: Mansonites Converge at El Coyote
Published on August 12, 2009 at 4:53pm
El Coyote is Movieland’s idea of a Mexican restaurant: The lighting is garish, the margaritas stiff. Waitresses clad in petticoated, off-the-shoulder cotton fiestas have been serving, as they call it, “authentic California-style Mexican food” to actors and others since 1931, but the blood-red leather booth in the back played host to its most infamous party on the night of August 8, 1969, when actress Sharon Tate dined there with Jay Sebring, Wojciech Frykowski and Abigail Folger. Later that night, the group would be slain by followers of Charles Manson in Tate’s home at 10050 Cielo Drive. Tall, blond, and forever gripping a camcorder, odd-teur Jon Aes-Nihil (director of the gory cult classic Manson Family Movies) gathered his unusual band of miscreants for “the Last Supper” this past Saturday night, as he has done every August 8 since 1979. Manson’s long-standing appeal? “It was the first time the hippies struck back,” one diner commented. Or was it?
Never a true crime buff nor serial-killer dilettante, I had long viewed Manson symbolically — a guitar-strumming ecoterrorist with a Messiah complex, who effectively extinguished the Age of Aquarius, but on this, the 40th anniversary of the Tate/LaBianca slayings, a different picture emerged.
Manson, suspected of being both an FBI informant and agent provocateur, may well have been a patsy. “The FBI took out the Black Panthers, the Yippies, the Weather Underground, and it’s a contention that the murders were orchestrated,” author Adam Gorightly pointed out between sips from a margarita. Manson’s connections to military intelligence, the Church of Scientology, government-sponsored mind-control experiments and the ’60s occult underground ripple through The Shadow Over Santa Susana, Gorightly’s definitive Manson tome, recently rereleased by Creation Books.
Manson referred to his family as “slippies,” and only grew his hair long in the months preceding the murders; but because of Manson, “it was a long time before you saw longhairs portrayed in a positive light.”
Aes-Nihil’s group of historians, writers, musicians and filmmakers traded stories of the weird, twisted Hollywood of old, attracting the attention of a pudgy industry type who, with no prompting, described the “peaceful vibe” surrounding Tate’s house when Trent Reznor recorded “Helter Skelter” there with a not-yet-famous Marilyn Manson. Archivist Aes-Nihil (short for “aesthetic nihilism”) poked his ever-present camera in the man’s face, adding to the hundreds of hours of Manson-related footage he’s acquired over the decades, smirking all the while.
In all the years I’d known Aes-Nihil, I’d always thought it was the Family’s creep factor that had attracted him. But “there’s infinitely more to the Manson thing than Tex Watson killing people,” he explained. “I’m obsessed with the effect the murders had on the ’60s, since I was there, part of a group somewhat like the Family. When the story came out, we didn’t believe it for a second.”
A man of few words, he resumed shooting the party’s chatter: Church of Satan founder Anton La Vey had cursed Tate’s husband, director Roman Polanski, after they’d had a falling-out on the set of Rosemary’s Baby. Drug-addled orgies at the house on Cielo Drive were filmed and later sold on the black market by crooked LAPD cops, who’d stolen them from the crime scene. Family member Patricia Krenwinkel, in correspondence with researcher John Judge, swore she had been a victim of mind control. The acid Manson gave his followers was allegedly of the same, government-issued variety “Son of Sam” killer David Berkowitz had been dosed with while in the military. Standard dinner-party conversation.
Gathering the assembled for a postdinner portrait, Aes-Nihil continued: “Charlie and Sharon [Tate] have been baptized in the well of eternity via mass culture and universal myth. As for Charlie, he’s a modern-day Nietzsche.” This is apparent, he says, in Manson’s unedited interviews. “If a lot of what Charlie has said had been attributed to someone who is politically correct, it would be hailed as genius.”
I heard him out, knowing that many people don’t, and smiled for his camera.
Friday, August 14, 2009
Wow- what an awful documentary. They actually made the story boring. It takes real skill to do that.
- how seriously can we take you when you state on a fucking title card that Spahn Ranch is in Benedict Canyon which is 20 miles away?
- I know you couldn't afford to license Beatles songs, but do you really expect anyone to believe Charlie listened to the WHITE ALBUM on fucking HEADPHONES?
- Gypsy is back to tell us her lies...she was lying in all that Henrickson footage and News footage then but she is telling the truth now- or something. I love Charlie kicking her though- such BS but I was cheering HIM on.
- Who is that one tooth freak that keeps appearing? No one in the Family was inbred.
- Jakobsen is now called Shapiro? Because any Jew will do?
- They are using the Tate Home Movies that I posted before YOUTUBE scum (Thanks Savage) took them down.
- Debra is there but doesn't get the chance to make too much up.
- Who knew that Linda Kasabian had become a transexual? I missed that part. She sounds like she is reading a script. No mention of her continued legal troubles, or of Tanya growing up to become Lady Dangerous. Of course.
This played in the UK and Canada and will play in USA in a month. And still suck.
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Restoring Sharon Tate
'ICON: Life Style Love Sharon Tate' celebrates the actress as 'a style icon, not a tragic headline,' according to artist Jeremy Kenyon Lockyer Corbell.
By Steffie NelsonHer closet may have been full of designer dresses, but Sharon Tate was a flower child all the way down to her toes. Most comfortable barefoot, she used to skirt the "shoes required" laws in snooty late '60s Beverly Hills by looping leather string around her toes and across the tops of her feet, and then tying the ends around her ankles. Voila: sandals. Even the Malibu Barbie doll, said to be inspired by the actress and her bikini-clad character, Malibu, from the 1967 beach comedy "Don't Make Waves," was barefoot in her box.
Details like these seem trivial when held up against the events of Aug. 9, 1969, when Tate, 26 years old and eight months pregnant with her husband Roman Polanski's child, was murdered by Charles Manson's followers in her Benedict Canyon home. Indeed, it's difficult to utter Tate's name without Manson's following close behind, and it will be even more so on this 40th anniversary weekend, as the face of the cult leader, now 74, looms large in the media.
Is it possible to remember her now as the free-spirited natural beauty who prided herself on wearing the shortest miniskirts in town, instead of as the victim of a horrific crime? Santa Monica artist Jeremy Kenyon Lockyer Corbell is attempting to tease apart the intertwined images with the exhibition "ICON: Life Style Love Sharon Tate," which celebrates, in his words, "a style icon, not a tragic headline." Taking over an 8,000-square-foot space in Culver City this weekend, the multimedia show expands upon a series of photographs Corbell shot last year of up-and-comer Lauren Hastings modeling pieces from Tate's wardrobe.
The clothes came courtesy of Tate's sister Debra, who shared them with the public for the first time on a 2008 episode of "Inside Edition." "No one ever really, in her opinion, cared to know about this other part of [Sharon's] life, her passion for clothing and her sense of style," explains the program's producer Esmeralda Servin, who had come to know Debra, now 56, through other stories (most related to Manson family parole hearings). Debra, she says, was immediately receptive to the idea of focusing on the clothes, with Servin and in the Corbell project that flowed from it.
For the cameras, Debra pulled plastic-wrapped pieces from a cedar hope chest, including the high-necked, puff-sleeved, micro-mini wedding dress that Sharon designed for her 1968 marriage to Polanski. News footage from the couple's reception at the Playboy Club in London -- attended by L.A. pals including Warren Beatty, Candice Bergen, Mia Farrow and many others -- shows them looking like some kind of mod fairy-tale prince and princess; the diminutive auteur (only 5 foot 5 to her 5 foot 6) in a frock coat and cravat, feeding cake to his bride, fresh white flowers woven into her elaborate do. Her beauty -- which her husband claimed she was "embarrassed by" -- is timeless, yet she effortlessly embodied her time: glamorous starlet in heavy false eyelashes and fur one moment, haute hippie with beach-blond hair and languid gaze the next.
It's that image that still resonates powerfully in the design world, where, at least in some quarters, she seems to survive in memory more as muse than martyr. "It wasn't only her looks, it was the way she carried herself," says Dear Creatures' Bianca Benitez, who invokes the "Valley of the Dolls" ingenue in her spring 2009 collection. There's even a pair of high-waisted denim "Sharon Shorts," although Tate herself was partial to dresses.
Each piece worn by Hastings captures a different side of Tate, and of the '60s: There's a short, black mink coat with the name "Sharon Tate" embroidered inside; an Ossie Clark tunic worn with an op-art Yves Saint Laurent scarf; a full-sleeved paisley minidress by British hippie chic designer Thea Porter (who famously put Talitha Getty in a caftan); the black lace, strapless Christian Dior gown Tate wore to the premiere of "Rosemary's Baby"; and the simple, flowered sundresses she wore around the house that fateful summer at 10050 Cielo Drive.
Resurrection Vintage owner and designer Katy Rodriguez, who lives nearby, has visited that address "many times." "She is a huge inspiration to me," says the designer, who has played with '60s silhouettes in several collections. "She is the ultimate L.A. woman. There is no other."
Rodriguez tells a story about visiting her friend Nils Stevenson in London. "He was the Sex Pistols' PR person in the '70s and his brother is the rock photographer Ray Stevenson. Nils had a black-and-white image that Ray shot of Sharon at a party in the '60s. She looked so glamorous in something shimmery with that big hair. We had more than a few drunken nights staring at the photo and saying the same thing: They just don't make girls like that anymore. Everyone loved her, even the punks."
Undeniably, the darkness of Tate's fate somehow throws her into brighter relief. But, Rodriguez asserts, "The Manson connection is only one part of her story. Her life and her promise was as compelling as her death. She traveled between light and dark. . . . It's what makes her so interesting. Other people died that night, but we gravitate toward Sharon."
Tate's path certainly didn't follow the storybook fantasy of her wedding. By 1969 she was considering divorcing the womanizing Polanski, according to author Greg King, and lamented the direction her film career had taken. To her friends, Sharon disparaged her media image as "sexy little me."
"She did these movies that critics like Pauline Kael and others made fun of," notes Adam Parfrey, a book publisher whose catalog encompasses Hollywood history as well as the Manson Family. "She wasn't a star; she was a starlet. She never had a chance to demonstrate much acting prowess."
Star billing came only after her death, when "Valley of the Dolls" and the Polanski-directed horror spoof "The Fearless Vampire Killers" were rereleased within days of the murders, preserving her image in the bloom of youth and possibility.
Corbell spent more than a year pondering Tate's story as he reworked the photographs he'd shot with an old press Polaroid camera: enlarging them, painting on them, and embedding them in antique window frames. He believes our fascination goes deep, to a subconscious level. "Is she an icon just because of her death," he asks, "or is she an icon because she represented something -- some spirit of purity or love -- that was brought to light by the way she died?"
The 32-year-old, self-described "accidental artist" freely admits that when he was first approached by Servin about doing the shoot, he found the concept a little creepy. "I made that same equation, Sharon = Manson." But as he grew to understand Debra Tate's situation -- robbed of almost every positive memory of her sister -- Corbell "saw the potential to tell a story that was bigger. That's what I care about as an artist."
Asked why he chose the anniversary of Tate's death to celebrate her life, Corbell says that he'd actually considered having the show on her birthday, "but what I'm trying to do is change the equation on a day that acts as this launchpad to repeat the negative mantra of fear. I'm trying to turn fear into hope."
ICON is open to the public from 1 to 5 p.m. today at High Profile Productions, 5896 Smiley Drive, Culver City.
Monday, August 10, 2009
The Manson murders — 40 years later
TERROR: The brutality of the killings destroyed a period of innocence and changed the city forever.
Forty years ago on Aug. 8, from his ranch in the San Fernando Valley, Charles Manson dispatched a band of devoted fanatics on a high-profile killing spree that shocked the world and terrified Angelenos, who never left their doors and windows unlocked again.
"It was a scary thing back then and it continues to this day," says Vincent Bugliosi, who successfully prosecuted the Manson "family" for one of the city's most notorious murder binges.
Among the seven victims of the two-day murder spree was actress Sharon Tate, the wife of director Roman Polanski, who was eight and a half months pregnant at the time.
As details of the crimes emerged, fear spread in a city that simply could not comprehend the sheer brutality of the murderers, many of whom were long-haired young women who could be mistaken for peaceniks.
Six of the seven victims were stabbed a total of 169 times and the seventh was shot dead.
"It had a definite effect throughout L.A., and it did induce fear throughout the city," Bugliosi said.
In the early hours of Aug. 9, 1969, the Manson family killed Tate, 26, and four others in Benedict Canyon - coffee fortune heiress Abigail Folger, 25; celebrity hairstylist Jay Sebring, 35; Polish film director Voyteck Frykowski, 32; and Steven Parent, 18, friend of the caretaker at Tate's home.
Manson stayed at the Spahn Ranch in Chatsworth while his devotees committed the Tate murders. The following night, Manson went
The killers also scrawled "Healter Skelter" and "Pigs" in the victims' blood at both murder scenes - references to the Beatles song "Helter Skelter" released the year before, which the killers misspelled, and a slur directed at police and the white establishment.
"There were people in L.A. back then, in 1969, who didn't lock their doors," says Bugliosi. "It was a certain period of innocence to a certain degree and that all stopped with the Tate-LaBianca murders."
James Schamus, screenwriter and producer of the upcoming film "Taking Woodstock," grew up in North Hollywood, in the hills right off Mulholland Drive, and remembers the fear that overtook the city.
"I was under lockdown, as were all of my friends because just a few days before, the Manson family went on a rampage in the neighborhood," he recalls. "My parents were like, `You're not going out!'
"They didn't know it was the Manson family until they were arrested a couple of months later. But they knew that they were hippies who did it, because they used the blood to scrawl `pig' on the wall."
Four decades after what Bugliosi calls an "orgy of murder," the legacy of Manson looms disturbingly over pop culture and an entertainment capital that still seems to be coming to grips with the madness of the convicted mass murderer.
Manson was given the death penalty along with Charles "Tex" Watson, Susan Atkins, Patricia Krenwinkel and Leslie Van Houten. When the courts overturned the death penalty, their sentences were commuted to life in prison.
Another family member, Linda Kasabian, who stood watch at the Tate murder site, turned state's evidence. She served no time.
Today, Manson, 74, short and balding, bears little resemblance to the long-haired, bearded menace whose likeness became a pop culture icon. What does remain is the devilish stare and the swastika, which he carved on his forehead while on trial.
"But the shadow of Charles Manson continues to haunt our nation's psyche, especially in Los Angeles," says Dr. Carole Lieberman, a psychiatrist on the clinical faculty at UCLA who specializes in violence and terrorism.
"Why? First, the scattered contamination of spots in Los Angeles where the Manson family lived and killed. From Malibu to Los Feliz, the San Fernando Valley to Venice, and numerous places in between.
"Secondly, the randomness or `helter skelter' aspect to the crimes, which causes us to realize that we are not safe, even within our fancy homes."
Though America has seen dozens of notorious serial killers since Manson, the fascination with this Ohio-born drifter who spent most of his life in reform schools and behind bars persists.
"The main reason for the continued fascination at such a late date (is) the murders were probably the most bizarre in the recorded annals of American crime," says Bugliosi, who later authored a best-selling book about the crimes - "Helter Skelter."
Manson construed the expression as the harbinger of an apocalyptic race war he hoped the murders would trigger.
"For whatever reason," says Bugliosi, "people are fascinated by things that are strange and bizarre. Manson himself. Just how many Charles Mansons are out there?
"The incredible motive: To ignite a war between blacks and whites, an Armageddon. The killers printed words from Beatles songs in blood, mind you, at the murder scene. The fact that these kids (Manson's killers) came from average American homes. Who would ever dream that, of all people, they would be mass murderers?"
Today, dozens of bands, especially in Europe, play songs penned by Manson or that were written in support of the mass murderer. The Internet has millions of pages devoted to him. Manson cult groups abound throughout the world.
At the Spahn Ranch in Chatsworth where Manson and his followers lived while in the Valley, locals say they occasionally see visitors searching for the Santa Susana Mountain location, once a western movie set and now fenced off and owned by the state of California.
"Some people don't think Manson was crazy but a genius to be able to manipulate people like he did," says horse trainer Candy Cooper who lives not far from the ranch. "People were horrified by the killings and the way they were done, and they come here, I guess, looking for where the man who masterminded that lived."
Holly Huff, who lived in Box Canyon where the ranch was and had just graduated from high school when the murders took place, remembers that Manson and his clan had taken control of George Spahn's movie ranch, over the objection of the ranch's caretaker.
"George was blind, and the story was that they had seduced him by having the girls have sex (with him)," says Huff, who remembers that the caretaker soon mysteriously disappeared.
"I don't think anyone ever heard from him again."
Huff also recalled that in the months before the murders, many residents of the Box Canyon area complained of returning to their homes and finding their furniture and furnishings moved around - though nothing was taken.
"I think they called it `creepy crawling,' and many thought (the Manson family) was responsible," she says.
Then, just days before the killings, Huff said, a friend found his garage looted of equipment used to cut steel. It was common knowledge the Manson family was converting old cars into dune buggies.
"He was gonna go up to the ranch and confront them, but didn't," said Huff. "And it's probably good that he didn't."
Others with an interest in Manson also look for the former site of a two-story house at 20910 Gresham St. in Canoga Park, not far from the Spahn Ranch, where the Manson family lived in late 1968 and early 1969.
That house was known to Manson's followers as "The Yellow Submarine," referring to another Beatles song.
"It was like a submarine in that when you were in it, you weren't allowed to go out," Watson tells Bugliosi in his book. "You could only peek out of the windows."
Today, the house is gone. The former single-family home neighborhood has been converted to apartment buildings - but memories of Manson and his family remain.
Longtime Chatsworth resident Virginia Watson remembers that the Manson family became a fixture in the area in the months leading up to the murders.
"They weren't here long, but they made a big impression," says Watson, who is now curator of the Chatsworth Historical Museum. "They were like a gang, and they would come in to shop at the Hughes Market or the Arco gas station.
"They would steal things from the market, and you would see them scavenge through trash cans, and everyone would stay away from them as much as possible."
But it was not until Manson and the family were linked to the killings, says Watson, that local residents realized how close they had been to potential harm.
"Before they had just seemed like renegades," says Watson. "But when we found out what they did, I think we realized we had been right in avoiding them as much as we could."
Taking on Charles Manson
No matter what else he does, the lawyer and author will always be known for prosecuting the infamous murder case.
August 8, 2009
Vincent Bugliosi has moved on, but the world hasn't. Forty years after the impossibly grisly Tate-LaBianca murders, he is still "the Manson prosecutor." This, in spite of his many books since, arguing with magisterial fury about the JFK assassination, the O.J. Simpson trial, the Bush vs. Gore case and now the Iraq war.
His book about the murders masterminded by Charles Manson, "Helter Skelter," written with coauthor Curt Gentry, hasn't been out of print since it appeared in 1974. It's blurbed as the bestselling true-crime book of all time, at what Bugliosi figures is about 7 million copies. His 2007 JFK book, "Reclaiming History," got its start in a 1986 mock trial on television, in which Bugliosi prosecuted Lee Harvey Oswald, using actual assassination witnesses, and proved that Oswald alone killed the president. It has sold considerably fewer copies than "Helter Skelter," but, as he says, "if you want to make money, you don't put out a book that weighs 7 1/2 pounds and costs $57 and has over 10,000 citations and a million and a half words."
Bugliosi still writes voluminously -- and without a computer -- but he's had to put down his pen for the moment because journalists like me are swarming around, asking for his insights, 40 years on, about the 1969 slaughters, now known the world over as the Manson murders, and their chief instigator, the hideously and evidently perpetually fascinating Charles Manson.
Aren't you tired of people asking about Manson?
I've actually had a copilot come out of the cockpit on a trip from L.A. to New York and ask me about Charles Manson. I was at a book convention, in a cab -- on one side of me was Arthur Schlesinger, on the other side was William Manchester, real heavyweights. All they were doing was asking me about Charles Manson. The only thing that enables me not to be bored is the people talking about it -- they're so interested. The durability of this case is just incredible.
Why? There have been more prolific murderers and gorier killings since then.
Many factors. The single most important is that the murders were probably the most bizarre in American crime, and people are fascinated by things that are strange and bizarre. It's not the brutality -- they were extremely brutal murders, but like you say, there have been more brutal murders. Not the prominence of the victims. Another reason -- the very name "Manson" has become a metaphor for evil, and evil has its allure.
So he's become the Hitler of murderers, by which all other murderers are measured?
You said it -- I can't say that. Just one [example] among many: Mike Tyson's applying for renewing his boxing license before the boxing commission in Nevada. He says, "Look, I'm a bad guy, but I'm not Charles Manson." His name is used in that context. Now [O.J.] Simpson -- you don't hear [that] about the Simpson case. It was kind of a garden-variety case. The Manson case just never ends.
What do you make of the enduring cottage industry of Manson shirts, music, posters?
He's got this image, almost a glamorous outlaw type, an anti-establishment figure, like Dillinger or Jesse James, but [kids] really don't know who he is. They don't know how evil he is. I think if they really knew who Manson was, they would not be wearing those shirts.
In 1972, the Supreme Court overturned the death penalty, including those in the Manson case. Are you sorry he and the others weren't executed?
Well, that would have been the proper sentence. The execution of a condemned man is a terrible thing, but murder is an even more terrible thing. They deserved to die, these people, and I asked for the death penalty and I would do so again. I don't know if "sorry" is a good word -- I'm disappointed, of course, particularly with respect to Manson.
Yet you also supported Manson family member Susan Atkins' parole request not long ago, and got a lot of grief for it.
The visceral response would be, "Well, she showed no mercy so she gets no mercy." But there are several things which militate against that easy conclusion. She's already paid substantially for her crime, close to 40 years behind bars. She has terminal cancer. The mercy she was asking for is so minuscule. She's about to die. It's not like we're going to see her down at Disneyland.
If you were writing your own Wikipedia entry, what would you put first?
I guess it would be [Manson]. It's a shorthand way of defining me, no matter what else I do. I can no more separate myself than I can jump away from my own shadow, and it tends to dominate the other things I've done.
What are you proudest of?
Certainly my magnum opus, "Reclaiming History." It's the most important murder case in American history. I put the best of what I know as a prosecutor into that book. It was just moonshine, these conspiracies. All these allegations made no sense whatsoever, so I decided to set the record straight. Oswald killed Kennedy. He acted alone. Because of these conspiracy theorists who split hairs and proceeded to split the split hairs, this case has been transformed into the most complex murder case in world history. But, at its core, it's a simple case.
"The Betrayal of America," attacking the 5-4 Supreme Court decision in the disputed 2000 presidential election -- not at first blush a case for a criminal prosecutor.
I'm not a political activist. But whenever something is so egregious, I jump in. Even many Republican scholars [said], "The court should be ashamed of itself; we've lost respect for the court." And I kept saying, "That's all? You lost respect?" These five [justices] are among the biggest criminals in American history. How dare these people have the audacity to do what they did? I think I made my case pretty well that these people deliberately tried to steal the election.
And now your latest book, "The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder," published in May, makes a murder case against Bush for waging war unnecessarily and shows how he could be prosecuted for it.
Bush [told] unsuspecting Americans the exact opposite of what his own federal intelligence agencies told him. What could be more criminal than the Bush administration keeping the all-important conclusion from Congress and the American people, with the lives of millions in the balance?
Every day, I think of those people in their graves now -- no one is fighting for them. You can see that I'm upset. I don't like to see anyone get away with murder. O.J. Simpson got away with two, and I wrote the book "Outrage." If I can get that angry over one or two murders, you can imagine the way I feel about Bush.
Some people must have said, "Bugliosi's gone off the deep end on this one."
Jerry Brown called me: "I understand you have a book out about Bush, about impeachment," and I said, "No, Jerry, it's about murder."
My first challenge was to see if a president taking the nation to war on a lie fell within the conventional principles of criminal law, and I've come up with very solid evidence that it does. There are many sophisticated issues, but here's the main issue. I've established jurisdiction, federal and local. If a prosecutor could prove that Bush took this nation to war under false pretenses, then these killings of American soldiers in Iraq would become unlawful and therefore murder.
I get the feeling you wish reporters were coming to your door to talk about your Bush book instead of Manson.
Oh, absolutely. I would much prefer to talk about this, but people don't want to.
You have a theory about why the book didn't get much press.
I had a very difficult time getting this book published, and I've never had trouble getting a book published. I couldn't get on any networks, no cable. Everyone has been terrified to talk about this. My only master, my only mistress, is the facts. If a Democratic president had done this, I would have written the same identical book, so it has nothing to do with politics. I'm 95% sure the left in this country is terrified of the right. The right has no fear of the left -- the left is terrified of the right.
What do you think of televising trials?
We should not televise trials. There's only one purpose for a criminal trial. It's to determine whether or not the defendant committed the crime. Anything that interferes or has the potential of interfering with that should automatically be prohibited. The idea of education is nonsense. Televise an automobile-collision case or breach-of-contract case and see how many people watch. It's all about entertainmen
By LINDA DEUTSCH (AP) – 13 hours ago
LOS ANGELES — Forty years ago, they were kids. Vulnerable, alienated, running away from a world wracked by war and rebellion. They turned to a cult leader for love and wound up tied to a web of unimaginable evil.
They were part of Charles Manson's "Family" and now, on the brink of old age, they are the haunted.
"I never have a day go by that I don't think about it, especially about the victims," says Barbara Hoyt who was 17 the summer of the Sharon Tate-LaBianca murders. "I've long ago accepted the fact it will never go away."
The ones who aren't in prison are scattered across the country. Some live under assumed names to hide their past from friends and business associates. Some have undergone surgery to remove the "X" that Manson ordered them to carve on their foreheads, showing they were "X"ed out of society. Some live with endless regret.
Those who escaped taking part in the spasm of terror that snuffed out at least nine lives would seem to be lucky. But their lives have been linked forever to one of the craziest mass murders in history.
"Manson made a lot of victims besides the ones he killed," said Catherine Share, who once lived with the Manson Family under the nickname "Gypsy." "He destroyed lives. There are people sitting in prison who wouldn't be there except for him. He took all of our lives."
It was 1969, the summer of the first moon landing. War was raging in Vietnam. Hippies were in the streets of San Francisco, the last bastion of the waning counterculture movement.
For many, that summer is remembered for one thing — the most shocking celebrity murders to ever hit Los Angeles. Mention of the Sharon Tate murders or the name Manson four decades later is enough to make people shudder.
On the morning of Aug. 9, a housekeeper ran screaming from a home in lush Benedict Canyon. She had discovered a scene of unspeakable carnage. Five bodies were scattered around the estate.
The most famous, actress Sharon Tate, 26, the pregnant wife of director Roman Polanski, had been stabbed multiple times. But there were four others that day and two more the next.
Abigail Folger, 25, heiress to a coffee fortune; Jay Sebring, 35, celebrity hair stylist; Voyteck Frykowski, 32, a Polish film director and Steven Parent, 18, friend of the caretaker, were found stabbed or shot in a bloody scene.
On the front door the victims' blood was used to scrawl the words, "Death to Pigs."
The city was thrown into a state of fear. If that was not enough, a similar murder scene was discovered the next night.
Wealthy grocer Leno La Bianca, 44, and his wife Rosemary, 38, were found stabbed to death in their home across town. A killer had carved the word "WAR" on Leno La Bianca's body. The words "Helter Skelter" were written in blood on the refrigerator.
"These murders were probably the most bizarre in the recorded annals of American crime," said Vincent Bugliosi, the former deputy district attorney who prosecuted the killers and wrote the book, "Helter Skelter."
It would be more than three months before the name Charles Manson was linked to the crimes. And then the story became even weirder.
The discovery of Manson's clan living in a high desert commune opened up the astounding story of an ex-convict who had gathered young people into a cult and ordered them to kill. His reasons still remain a subject of debate. Some say he wanted to foment a race war; others say it was senseless.
"It was a real-life horror story," recalled Stephen Kay, who also prosecuted the Manson Family. "Manson is the real-life Freddie Kruger."
The former prosecutors worry that Manson, 74, is becoming a folk hero to a new generation. He is the subject of several Web sites, and Manson souvenirs are sold online.
"Evil has its lure and Manson has become a metaphor for evil," said Bugliosi.
Those cult members lucky enough not to have killed for Manson on Aug. 9-10, 1969 have spent decades trying to bury their past and free themselves from his grasp.
Some never succeeded. Sandra Good and Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme committed crimes later that they said were for Manson and went to federal prison.
When Good, 65, was paroled she moved near the maximum security prison that holds Manson, reportedly so she could "feel his vibes." Fromme, 60, is due for parole this summer after serving 33 years for the attempted assassination of President Gerald Ford.
In 1969, there were perhaps 30 of them, a ragtag band of runaways and dropouts living on a movie ranch in the San Fernando Valley, all loyal to a shaggy-haired con man who preached a gospel of violence. Five of the "Family" members and Manson are in prison for the infamous Tate-LaBianca murders. Three are in prison for others crimes and two have been released.
Those who are free are still trying to sort out how they fell under his spell and how they came so close to one of the worst crimes of the 20th century. This is the anniversary of their nightmare.
They were very young when they found Manson — or he found them. Some were just 14. Others were in their late teens and early 20s.
Share muses how she might have been a lawyer or journalist had she never met Manson.
"We were just a bunch of kids looking for love and attention and a different way to live," recalls Share, 66. "He was everything to us. He was a con, a manipulator of the worst kind."
Hoyt was a 17-year-old who had left home after an argument with her father. She was sitting under a tree eating her lunch when a group of Manson followers came along in a van and asked her to go with them. They went to a house in the San Fernando Valley.
"I met Charlie the next morning," she said. "He took me for a motorcycle ride and we went for doughnuts. He was very nice. I thought he was pretty neat."
She said she was told by others of Manson's prediction of a race war that would destroy all but his followers who would go to the desert to live in a bottomless pit until it was safe for them to emerge and take over the world. She said she didn't believe much of it, but they were fixing up dune buggies for their escape and it was fun.
Hoyt and Share eluded being tapped for the Tate-LaBianca murders for different reasons.
"I was very young and I hadn't been there very long," said Hoyt. Others had joined the family long before she had and had been subject to Manson's "deprogramming," which included group sex and LSD trips.
"I wasn't as dead in the head as others. He asked me one time if I could kill and I said if someone asked me I would talk my way out of it. There were other people willing to do it."
Share said she was never asked, partly because she was older. But there was another reason: an extra 20 pounds that would have made it difficult for her to climb through windows.
"Let me tell you," she said, "I was just short of murdering for him. If he had told me to get some black clothes and get in a car, I would have."
The two women, who are not in touch with each other, have struggled back to normalcy. Share became pregnant while living at Spahn Ranch and has a grown son who served in the Marines. She declines to identify the father but said it was not Manson or any other notorious cult figure.
She went to prison for five years for involvement in a Manson Family robbery and later did more time for credit card fraud. She said the time in prison helped her recover and she became a Christian. Some of those in prison also have embraced Christianity.
Share went into retail sales and has just finished a book on her experiences with the Manson Family.
Hoyt went to college and became a nurse and is proud of her accomplishments.
"I raised my daughter; I have my own home and I've had some vacations," she said. But memories haunt her and she doesn't reveal where she's living.
"People freak out when they find out about my past," she said.
She keeps track of the Manson Family members in prison and writes letters urging that they never be released.
Share is more sympathetic to those who were convicted. Susan Atkins, 61, who is dying of brain cancer and had a leg amputated, has been turned down for compassionate release and has a parole hearing coming up in September. Leslie Van Houten, 59, and Patricia Krenwinkel, 61, convicted with her, remain in prison for life as does Charles "Tex" Watson, 63, another of the killers.
"Everyone wants to make them monsters," said Share. "They weren't monsters. They did a monstrous thing and now they're older people and they're not monsters anymore. None of those people ever would have been violent if it weren't for Manson."
Manson Murders: 40 Years Ago
It was 40 years ago Sunday that America's worst fears of the hippie generation crystallized when Sharon Tate and four others were slaughtered by Charlie Manson's "family" in her rented Benedict Canyon home.
On Aug. 9, 1969, coffee heiress Abigail Folger, Voytek Frykowski, Jay Sebring, Steven Parent and Tate -- who was 26 years old, eight months pregnant and married to film director Roman Polanski -- were slain "to instill fear into the establishment," one of the killers, Susan Atkins, later told a grand jury.
A day later, Manson's followers struck again -- slashing to death grocery store chain owner Leno LaBianca and his wife, Rosemary, in their Los Feliz-area home.
The murderers left bloody messages at both crime scenes, including the title of a Beatles song, "Helter Skelter," in what authorities believe was an effort to start a race war.
Shocking Celebrity Deaths: Tate Murdered 40 Years Ago
Manson's brief reign of terror is four decades ago, but it continues to have a hold on America's psyche.
Sandi Gibbons covered their trial for City News Service. Today, she is a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office, which prosecuted the case.
What Charlie Manson meant to America was "the death of the hippie movement," Gibbons told CNS.
The Manson family was "the dark side of the peace, love and brotherhood movement," she said. "These were still the '60s, with flower children, love-ins ... peace-loving druggies ... but Manson was another side altogether. This was murder. This was killing people."
She said that from the moment Manson's family was uncovered at their commune in Death Valley a couple months after the murders, "people looked at hippies in a different light."
She added that the commune movement also "started shrinking."
But Gibbons said she never considered Manson a hippie. Rather, she said, he was simply a "con man."
She said he knew "how to get people to do his bidding through drugs, spouting a bunch of philosophy to a bunch of drugged-out kids, promising them a home -- sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll. The main thing was that Charlie was never a hippie."
She noted he had been institutionalized for most of his life since he was a child and that he discovered the hippies in the late '60s after he got out of prison in Washington state and "wandered down the coast to the Haight Ashbury District of San Francisco."
She said he played the guitar and gathered a small following, and that "his visions didn't turn dark until he got rejected in Los Angeles on the music front."
"The bottom line is that Charlie was a con man, and he's still conning people," she said. "I was raised in the South, and Charlie to me was a redneck Southerner who did not like women -- they were something to use, and he used them well."
Manson has repeatedly been turned down for parole, as have the so-called Manson women, even when one of them became terminally ill with brain cancer.
When asked for her personal opinion on whether the women should be paroled after 40 years, Gibbons said that as a spokeswoman for the District Attorney's office she couldn't discuss that.
"So far, this office has opposed parole," she said.
Gibbons noted the Manson women were in their mid 20s when they committed their crimes, and that she wasn't much older at the time.
"I could easily have been them -- but I wasn't," she said.
She said she sat behind Manson during some of the trial, and did not consider him to be charismatic in the least.
"He was like 5 feet 2 inches, a little redneck Southerner. I did not find him charismatic, or fascinating or interesting. He was a little creep."
Susan Atkins On Quest For Parole, Forty Years After Charles Manson Murders
The Convicted Killer Is Very Ill and Faces a Hearing in September
By JIM AVILA and FELICIA PATINKIN
Aug. 7, 2009—
These days, it is difficult to recognize the face of Susan Atkins, a notorious murderer from the Charles Manson cult. Still imprisoned, she's now gravely ill with brain cancer and asking for mercy that she did not give her victims.
Forty years ago, Atkins, 61, was a member of Charles Manson's "family," and took part in one of the most evil crimes in American history.
Atkins described the crime in blood-curdling detail at a parole hearing 16 years ago.
"She asked me to let her baby live," Atkins said at the time. " I told her I didn't have mercy for her."
Manson ordered Atkins and other "family" members to kill eight people, including Tate and wealthy store owners Leno and Rosemary La Bianca, in the Los Angeles area in August 1969.
Manson masterminded the murders hoping to start a war between blacks and whites, which he believed was foretold in the Beatles' song "Helter Skelter."
In the months after the bloody spree, Manson and his "family" were swept up. Atkins initially agreed to cooperate with prosecutors to avoid the death penalty, but soon she stopped cooperating. Instead, she and other women loyal to Manson disrupted court proceedings and sang songs written by Manson on their way to court. Atkins later testified that Manson was not involved in the Tate murders. For the crimes, Atkins was sentenced to death along with Manson and three others. When the Supreme Court struck down all death sentences in 1972, Atkins' sentence was automatically commuted to seven years to life with the possibility of parole, the maximum sentence at the time.
In prison, Atkins claimed to be a born again Christian and in 1980 married Donald Lee Laisure who claimed to be wealthy and would work to get her out of prison. She divorced Laisure soon after, and married James Whitehouse, a lawyer who has been devoted to Atkins ever since and has argued for her release.
Should Susan Atkins Be Released?
Today her family argues that Atkins is so ill that she can no longer pose a threat to society.
With the California budget in meltdown, they argue that Atkins should be released. They contend that it would save the state up to $10,000 a day when she's hospitalized. For example, last year alone she spent six months in an intensive care unit at the state's expense.
"She's paralyzed just about 85 percent of her body. She can nod her head and she can look left and right and she has limited use of her left arm," said her husband, who drives 1,000 miles a week to see her.
Now virtually alone and dependent on her devoted husband, Atkins is asking that her life sentence be cut short so she can die at home, rather than in the California prison system where she has been for 39 years. She has been denied parole repeatedly, despite expressions of regret to her victims and their loved ones.
"She's expressed her remorse and grief at every single one of her 17 other parole hearings going back to 1972," says Whitehouse.
In 2002, "Good Morning America's" Diane Sawyer met Atkins in prison while she was working with other women who had life sentences.
She said she was a changed woman.
"I am not the same person that I was when I came in here," she told Sawyer at the time. When asked if she expected to be released from prison, Atkins replied, "I would like to be out some day."
Still clinging to that hope, Atkins and her family will again appear before a parole board this September to make their plea official.
But the Manson victims' families and their advocates dismiss economics as a good reason for early release.
"The very release of a killer like that & sends a message to people that this life sentence doesn't mean a life sentence, that the victims' families are going to have to go through this over and over and over again," said Jennifer Bishop-Jenkins, an advocate for the victims. "She needs to, in grace and dignity, finish her sentence."