Charles Manson Dies

Notorious killer Charles Manson has died at the age of 83.

Charles Manson, the crazed 1960s cult leader whose disciples committed violent acts of murder and terrorized the city of Los Angeles, shocking the nation, died Sunday of natural causes, per the California Department of Corrections. Manson was 83.

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The small in stature, but highly charismatic Manson directed a stream of violence in August of 1969 that claimed the lives of seven individuals, spawning worldwide headlines and landing him and his “Manson Family” followers in prison for the majority of the rest of their lives.

Manson ultimately served nine life sentences in California prisons and was denied parole 12 different times. His persona, amped by popular films and books, turned him into a cult figure to people drawn by his dark, apocalyptic visions.

Manson was the leader of the infamous and violent Manson family. To the point they would literally kill for him.

The heinous murders started on August 9, 1969, at the home of actress Sharon Tate and her husband, famous film director Roman Polanski. Polanski was out of the country at the time. The first set of victims were Tate, eight months’ pregnant at the time; a celebrity hairstylist by the name of Jay Sebring; coffee heiress Abigail Folger; film writer Wojciech Frykowski; and Steven Parent, a family friend.

The following night, another group of murders took place. Supermarket exec Leno LaBianca and his wife, Rosemary, were slain in their home.

Although Manson orchestrated the murders, he didn’t actually participate.

Over the span of two nights, the killers claimed the lives of seven people, inflicting a total of 169 stab wounds and seven .22-caliber gunshot wounds. Each crime scene revealed gruesome findings, and  some details actually linked the two crime scenes.

The word “pig” was written in the victims’ blood on the walls of one home and the front door of the other. There was also another phrase frighteningly scrawled in blood — Helter Skelter (though it was misspelled as Healter). The reason for the disturbing words, the prosecutor claimed, was because Manson wished to incite a race war and had wanted the Black Panthers be blamed for the killings.

Manson and three of his followers — Patricia Krenwinkel, Leslie Van Houten and Susan Atkin — went on trial in L.A.

All of those details were revealed at the trial, both horrifying and mesmerizing the entire country. During the trial, Manson and his clan maintained a circus-like atmosphere in court with singing, laughing, loud outbursts and even carving “X”‘s on their foreheads.

The charges came down after a major break in the case when Atkins, in jail already on a separate charge, bragged to a fellow inmate about the Tate killings. Atkins stated that they went through with it “because we wanted to do a crime that would shock the world. …”

Manson was originally sentenced to death. However, the death penalty was briefly abolished in California and his concurrent sentences were changed to life in prison.

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