21 Photos of Charles Manson, His ‘Family’ and His Crimes

Charles Milles Manson (né Maddox; November 12, 1934 – November 19, 2017) was an American criminal who led the Manson Family, a cult based in California, in the late 1960s. Some of the members committed a series of nine murders at four locations in July and August 1969. In 1971, Manson was convicted of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder for the deaths of seven people, including the film actress Sharon Tate. The prosecution contended that, while Manson never directly ordered the murders, his ideology constituted an overt act of conspiracy.

Before the murders, Manson had spent more than half of his life in correctional institutions. While gathering his cult following, Manson was a singer-songwriter on the fringe of the Los Angeles music industry, chiefly through a chance association with Dennis Wilson of the Beach Boys, who introduced Manson to record producer Terry Melcher. In 1968, the Beach Boys recorded Manson’s song “Cease to Exist”, renamed “Never Learn Not to Love” as a single B-side, but without a credit to Manson. Afterward, Manson attempted to secure a record contract through Melcher, but was unsuccessful.

Manson would often talk about the Beatles, including their 1968 self-titled album. According to Los Angeles County District Attorney, Vincent Bugliosi, Manson felt guided by his interpretation of the Beatles’ lyrics and adopted the term “Helter Skelter” to describe an impending apocalyptic race war. During his trial, Bugliosi argued that Manson had intended to start a race war, although Manson and others disputed this. Contemporary interviews and trial witness testimony insisted that the Tate–LaBianca murders were copycat crimes intended to exonerate Manson’s friend Bobby Beausoleil. Manson himself denied having instructed anyone to murder anyone.

Manson’s notoriety as an emblem of insanity, violence, and the macabre influenced pop culture. Recordings of songs written and performed by Manson were released commercially, starting with Lie: The Love and Terror Cult (1970). Since his incarceration, various musicians have covered some of his songs. Although originally sentenced to death in 1971, his sentence was commuted to life with the possibility of parole after the California Supreme Court invalidated the state’s death penalty statute in 1972. He served his life sentence at the California State Prison, Corcoran, and died at age 83 in late 2017. (Wikipedia)

Four young female members of the Charles Manson “family” kneel outside the Los Angeles Hall of Justice on March 29, 1971, with their heads shaved. The women kept a vigil at the building throughout the long trial in which Manson and three others were convicted of murdering actress Sharon Tate and six others.
Nancy Pitman (a.k.a Brenda McCann), Sandra Good, Catherine Gillies, and Mary (Mary Theresa Brunner) dubbed “the girls on the corner.” They shaved their heads along with Manson, Atkins, Krenwinkel, and Van Houten following the guilty verdicts, telling reporters, “You’d better watch your children because Judgment Day is coming!
Kathryn “Kitty” Lutesinger, a Charles Manson “Family” member, on Temple Street during Manson’s trial for the Tate-LaBianca murders.
Members of Charles Manson’s “family” (L-R Sandra Good, Nancy “Brenda McCann” Pitman, and Kitty Lutesinger) hold vigil outside the Los Angeles Hall of Justice, embroidering a vest for the leader who is on trial for murder on January 24, 1971. (David F. Smith / Associated Press)
Manson family members seen outside of Grand Jury Room 548, 1971. (Herald-Examiner Collection/Los Angeles Public Library)
Manson Family members in the courtroom, 1970.
Manson cult members receive the news that Charles Manson and his three female co-defendants had been found guilty of murder, January 26, 1971.
From left: Susan Atkins, Patricia Krenwinkel and Leslie Van Houten are shown en route to court in Los Angeles in August 1970. The three women, displaying the symbol X on their foreheads as followers of the Manson cult family, were convicted for killings that included actress Sharon Tate.
Charles Manson is escorted to his arraignment on conspiracy-murder charges in connection with the Sharon Tate murder case, 1969, Los Angeles, Calif.
Charles Manson walks into the courtroom in Santa Monica on Oct. 13, 1970. Susan Atkins, seated, a member of Manson’s “family” of followers, pleaded guilty to charges of murdering Malibu musician Gary Hinman.
Members of Charles Manson’s “family” are shown outside the courtroom in the Los Angeles Hall of Justice after a hearing on Jan. 27, 1970. Identifiable are Lynette Fromme, foreground left, and Catherine “Gypsy” Share, far right.
When asked by a newsman, “Are you insane, Charlie?” during a March 19, 1970, interview in Los Angeles, Manson answered: “It all depends on your point of view.”
The 500-acre Spahn Movie Ranch in the Santa Susana Mountains is where Charles Manson and his “family” lived at the time of the Tate-LaBianca murders in 1969.
The body of actress Sharon Tate is taken from her Benedict Canyon estate where she and four other people were killed the night of Aug. 9, 1969, in Los Angeles.
Manson Family members outside a courtroom during the Tate-LaBianca murder trial, 1970.
Manson Family members outside a courtroom during the Tate-LaBianca murder trial, 1970.
Charles Manson “Family” members, Kathryn “Kitty” Lutesinger, left, and Nancy Pitman (a.k.a Brenda McCann), on Temple Street during Manson’s trial for the Tate-LaBianca murders, 1970.
Catherine Gillies with “X” carved into her forehead.
Manson follower Sandra Good, 1970.
Cult leader Charles Manson looks back and smiles after being charged with eight murders on December 4, 1969.
An original booking mug shows Charles Manson at the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department in 1968.

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