Little Bits of History

April 19

Posted in History by patriciahysell on April 19, 2017

1971: Charles Manson is sentenced to death. Manson was born in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1934. His mother was just 16 and his father was not named. She would later file a paternity suit against Colonel Walker Scott. She was briefly married to William Manson and her son was given his name. His childhood was troubled and he spent much of his early life being shuffled between relatives. He ran away and was robbing stores to pay for food and lodging. He was first arrested at the age of 13 and sent to the Indiana Boys School where he was abused, physically and sexually. He escaped there after three years and was soon caught and arrested again for robbery and grand theft auto. He was again sent to a Boys School, a juvenile detention center. He was considered to be “dangerous” and transferred to prison. He was paroled in May 1954.

He tried living within the law, unsuccessfully, and was arrested again in March 1956 and sentenced to prison. He was paroled in September 1958. Still in trouble with the law, he was in and out of prison, paroled, violated parole, and constantly living outside the law. He was released from prison in March 1967 and given permission to move to San Francisco. He moved in with Mary Brunner, a library assistant, and soon had himself and 18 women living in her house. He set himself up as a guru/hippie and the group soon came to be known as the Manson Family. They followed a haphazard composite philosophy of various fringe belief systems.

Over the course of five weeks in 1969, the Family committed a series of nine murders at four locations. The most famous of these was the Tate murders committed on the night of August 8-9, 1969. Sharon Tate, wife of film director Roman Polanski, was eight months pregnant. She was hosting a party at her house when the Manson Family arrived and killed the four people in the house after having already killed a visitor in the driveway as they approached the house. Investigations finally led to the capture of the murderers and the group went on trail beginning in June 1970. Manson along with Susan Atkins, Linda Kasabian, and Patricia Krenwinkel were charged with seven counts of murder and one of conspiracy. Kasabian was the prosecution’s main witness and by all accounts she had not participated in the killings.

On January 25, 1971 the jury returned guilty verdicts against all four defendants on each of the 27 counts against them. During the penalty phase, Manson’s presentation of “explanation” was put forth. They were copycat murders to lead police astray. The ploy did not work and Manson was not exonerated for a “copycat” scenario. On March 29, 1971 the jury returned verdicts of death against all four defendants and on this day, Judge Older sentenced them to death. In February 1972, all four death sentences were changed to life in prison as California abolished the death penalty. Manson has applied for parole twelve times since 1972 and been denied each time. He remains in prison at the age of 82. He is eligible to apply again in 2027 when he will be 92 years old.

I am the Devil, and the Devil always has a bald head. – Charles Manson, after shaving his head during the penalty phase of his trial for murder

You know, a long time ago being crazy meant something. Nowadays everybody’s crazy.

From the world of darkness I did loose demons and devils in the power of scorpions to torment.

Living is what scares me. Dying is easy. – all from Charles Manson

Crazy Times

Posted in History by patriciahysell on August 9, 2015
Charles Manson's booking photo

Charles Manson’s booking photo

August 9, 1969: Charles Manson’s Family commit several murders. The most famous of the victims on this night was Sharon Tate, wife of film director and producer, Roman Polanski. Tate was only two weeks away from delivery of her first child. Also at the house were Jay Sebring (hairstylist and Tate’s former lover), Wojciech Frykowski (screenwriter), and Abigail Folger (heiress to the Folger coffee fortune). Steven Parent had been visiting William Garretson who lived in the caretaker’s house on the property in Benedict Canyon. He was leaving shortly after midnight on this date when he approached the gate and was murdered in his car.

Manson had directed his Family members to head to the house “where Melcher used to live” and then destroy everyone in it as gruesomely as possible. Charles Watson, nicknamed “Tex”, rounded up his people (Susan Atkins, Linda Kasabian, and Patricia Krenwinkel) and Watson climbed a phone pole and cut the line. The group then entered the yard and saw headlights coming toward them. Watson approached the car and found Parent who begged for his life to no avail. They went up to the house and looked for an open window and cut a screen. Watson directed Kasabian to watch at the gate while he entered the house and then let in Atkins and Krenwinkel.

All four of the people in the house were brought to the living room. The four victims did their best to escape the assault, but they were unarmed and the killers were uncompromising. The victims were slashed, cut, and repeatedly shot. Folger was stabbed 28 times; Frykowski was stabbed 51 times. Tate bargained with her assailants in order to assure the safe delivery of her baby. Her pleas fell on deaf ears and she was stabbed 16 times. Manson had directed his Family to leave a sign after they killed all the people in the house. Atkins wrote the word “pig” using a towel and Tate’s blood. The next night, two more Family members joined the group with Manson accompanying them. They found a new target and killed Leno and Rosemary LaBianca.

The two murder scenes were not immediately connected. All participants were arrested and came to trial beginning on June 15, 1970. Kasabian, by all accounts, had not committed any of the murders and her testimony was key in implicating the others. Manson originally was permitted to act as his own attorney, but the Judge rescinded his offer after witnessing Manson’s bizarre behavior in court. It took until January 25, 1971 but guilty verdicts were returned. They were all sentenced to death, but the death penalty was withdrawn and so Charles Manson remains in prison as do Charles Watson and Patricia Krenwinkel. Susan Atkins died in prison in 2009 at the age of 61.

I have nothing against none of you. But it’s high time that you started looking at yourselves, and judging the lie you live in.

From the world of darkness I did loose demons and devils in the power of scorpions to torment.

I will have you removed if you don’t stop. I have a little system of my own.

I never thought I was normal, never tried to be normal. – all from Charles Manson

Also on this day: Lean On Me – In 1173, construction on the world’s most famous bell tower began.
Much Brighter – In 1979, Brighton Beach was given permission as a nude beach.
Betty Boop – In 1930, Betty made her debut.
Walden – In 1854, Thoreau published his book.
YOU Can Prevent Wild Fires – In 1944, Smokey Bear’s first poster came out.