Saturday, 23 May 2015

Serial Killer Saturday: Charles Manson

Hi guys, welcome to my first Serial Killer Saturday post! I am so excited to start this blog series and I thought I would start with the one I find the most interesting. Charles Manson and the Manson Family. I hope you will enjoy reading it! :)

''My father is the jailhouse. My father is your system. I am only what you made me. I am only a reflection of you'' - Charles Manson. 

Who? Charles Manson led his followers, utterly devoted to his and viewed him as a prophet, known as the Manson Family- for the purpose of the murders, they are mainly: Patricia Krenwinkel, Susan Atkins, Linda Kasabian, Leslie Van Houten, Tex Watson and Steve Grogan.

Years active and victim count- 1968 to 1970. It's important to note that Manson orchestrated the murders, his followers killed directly. Manson only made one murder attempt, he shot Bernard Crowe, who survived. Nine directed deaths are: Sharon Tate, stabbed 16 times. Jay Sebring, shot with .22 revolver and stabbed 7 times. Wojciech Frykowski, shot, stabbed 51 times. Abigail Folger, stabbed 28 times. Gary Hinman, stabbed. Steven Parent shot 4 times with a .22 revolver. Leno LaBianca, stabbed 12 times. Rosemary LaBianca, stabbed 41 times. Donald Shea, stabbed and tortured to death.

Background- Born No Name Maddox to a 16 year old alcoholic and prostitute Kathleen Maddox on the 12th November, 1934. Kathleen Maddox was sent to jail for 5 years for robbery, and Charles was sent to live with his aunt and uncle. He was sent to Gibault School For Boys, where he fled after 10 months. When his mother returned from jail, he went to live with her again, but she rejected Charles. He committed his first offences at the age of 13, by committing a string of burglaries and armed robbery. He was first imprisoned in Federal Reformatory for sodomising another boy at a minimum security institution. He became a model resident and he was allowed to go live with his mother as a parole condition. He married waitress Rosalie Willis, who in his own words, found genuine, if short lived, marital happiness. They had a son, Charles Manson JR. However, he was imprisoned for a second time for pimping a 16 year old girl, Leona Rae, who later became his wife. They divorced in 1963. Charles was released in 1967, he felt institutionalised, and pleaded to stay in jail. His plea was rejected. He established himself as a guru in the Haight-Ashbury area in San Francisco, during the Summer of Love in 1967. He gained followers, mainly women, who later became known as the Manson Family. They relocated to Spahn Ranch, in return for work around the grounds of the ranch. 

The Tate murders- On August 8th 1969, Manson directed Watson. Atkins, Krenwinkel and Kasabian to 10050 Cielo Drive and ''totally destroy everyone in it''. Renowned movie star Sharon Tate and her husband, film director Roman Polanski lived at 10050 Cielo Drive. Polanski was not in the house, however, Sharon Tate who was 8 and a half moths pregnant, Wojciech Frykowski, Abigail Folger and Jay Sebring, were. The Family ran into 18 year old Steven Parent, who begged the group not to hurt him. Watson slashed him with a knife across his palm and shot him 4 times as Steven tried to drive away. As the group entered the house, Watson awoke to a kick in the head from Watson, when Frykowski asked him what he was doing, Frykowski replied ''I'm the Devil, here to do the Devil's business''. Atkins brought the other 3 to the living room. Watson tied Tate and Sebring by their necks by a rope over a ceiling beam. Watson stabbed Sebring seven times and struck Frykowski over the head with the revolver several times, he stabbed him repeatedly and shot him twice. Folger was stabbed 28 times by Krenwinkel and Watson after she tried to escape. As Frykowski tried to escape, he was stabbed by Watson 51 times. In the living room, Tate pleaded to live long enough to have her baby. either Watson or Atkins stabbed Tate 16 times, as she was crying for her mother. As they left, Atkins wrote 'Pig' on the front door with blood.

The LaBianca murders- The LaBianca murders occurred the next night. The same four from the Tate murders and Van Houen and Grogan were also involved. Manson accompanied the 6 and gave Kasabian to drive to 3301 Waverly Drive, owned by Rosemary and Leno LaBianca. Manson woke Leno up at gunpoint, Rosemary was brought into the living room Manson ordered pillowcases to be put over their heads and instructed them to be killed. Watson stabbed Leno in the throat with a chrome plated bayonet and carved 'War' on his abdomen. Rosemary was stabbed 41 times by Krenwinkel and Van Houten. Krenwinkel wrote 'Rise' and 'Death to pigs' in blood on the refrigerator. 

Apprehension- On December 1st 1969, LAPD had warrants to arrest Watson, Krenwinkel and Kasabian in the Tate case and were suspect in the LaBianca murders. Kasabian surrendered to authorities on December 2nd. Watson's fingerprints were collected at Cielo Drive, and the .22 revolver was found by a 10 year old boy and handed in to police. A local ABC crew located the bloody clothing that was discarded the night of the Tate murders and the knife used was found at the Tate/Polanski residence. 

Trial and sentencing- Many motivations for the murders were examined during the trial, but the most feasible was Manson's belief in Armageddon, his pathological ego and insanity. In court Van Houten who was only 19 during the killings, alleged that Manson took advantage of her vulnerability and dislike of her mother, despite believing he was a man of vision. Atkins, undeniably one of the worst in the Manson family, revealed a list of high profile people that were to be killed and mutilated, such as Elizabeth Taylor, Frank Sinatra and Tom Jones. When asked why they wanted to kill these people, she said they wanted to commit murders that would shock the world and make people take notice. The trial began 18th November 1969, a young lawyer called Ronald Hughes was assigned Manson but later dropped him to defend Van Houten, which possibly cost him his life. In 1970, he went camping, several months later his body was found. It's thought that he was killed in retaliation for ''betraying their leader''. Manson turned up to court one day with an X carved on his forehead, some of his female followers copied the act and even shaved their heads. In time, the X was modified into a swastika. Throughout the trial, the killers laughed and made faces, clearly showing a lack of remorse for what they did. 

Charles Manson received the death penalty, but it was reduced to life in prison when California invalidated all death sentences. Linda Kasabian received immunity for acting as a star witness. Susan Atkins also got life in prison. Leslie Van Houten received life in prison. Tex Watson received life in prison. Patricia Krenwinkel is serving life behind bars. Steve Grogan was released from prison in 1985. 
And that's my first ever Serial Killer Saturday post! It took me hours to put it together so I really hope you all enjoyed it!
Thank you for reading, 
Stay fab xo
Kim. :)


  1. This post is so different, i find this kind of topic fascinating. As a historian i'm really interested in this type of thing and i'm a massive fan of Sharon Tate's movies!

    1. As do I, I took an interest in this topic around 10 or 11, I was a grim child haha :P thanks for reading! x