Convicted mass murderer Charles Manson dies at 83
“Inmate Charles Manson, 83, died of natural causes at 8:13 p.m. on Sunday, November 19, 2017, at a Kern County hospital,” a statement from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation says.
A lifelong criminal and conman, Manson reinvented himself in the late 1960s, becoming a quasi-Christ-like figure among a group of hippies called the Manson Family. Manson convinced his followers to carry out his demonic plans, which resulted in the deaths of seven people, among them actress Sharon Tate, who was heavily pregnant at the time during the summer of 1969.
Manson believed in what he called ‘Helter Skelter,’ a term he lifted from the Beatles song of the same name. Manson believed that ‘Helter Skelter’ meant the coming of an apocalyptic race war and believed that the murders he orchestrated would help bring about that war.
During his trial, Manson insisted that he “killed no one” and denied he had ever ordered his followers to do so. Then-US President Richard Nixon said that Manson was “guilty, directly or indirectly.”
In 1971, Manson was convicted and sentenced to nine concurrent life sentences. Mason was originally sentenced to death, but managed to escape the death penalty after the 1972 decision in the case People v. Anderson led to “all capital sentences in California to be commuted life in prison.”
He spent 46 years in prison and was never granted parole. He was denied parole a total of 12 times, and his next hearing was set to take place no earlier than 2027.
In September, Manson’s youngest follower, Leslie Van Houten – who took part in the murder of Leno and Rosemary LaBianca – was granted parole. The decision can still be reversed, as California Governor Jerry Brown has about two month left to affirm or deny it. Van Houten had been denied parole 20 times, and it was Governor Brown who secured her further stay in prison last year.
In the 1980s, he gave four notable interviews, during which he sported his now trademark Swastika symbol in the middle of his forehead, where he had carved an ‘X’ during his trial. The third interview with Geraldo Rivera focused on Satanism.
This is arguably what Manson wanted all along – he was finally being interviewed on national television, having been dismissed as crazy and marginalized by the music scene in the 1960s. Reporter Linda Deutsch, who covered Manson’s trial, said what he really wanted to do was become famous.
“So he wanted to make a statement (with the murders) and be the star that Hollywood wouldn’t let him be,” she said. “And he was demonic.”