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Serial killer Charles Manson dead at 83

Oxygen

Brenna Yeager, Staff Writer

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Charles Manson, the 1960’s cult leader whose followers committed many murders that shocked the nation, passed away November nineteenth of natural causes, according to the California Department of Corrections.

In the days leading up to his passing, he had been admitted to a hospital in Bakersfield, California. No details about his medical condition or his location were disclosed, due to privacy and security reasons.

He had been serving time in Corcoran State Prison in California since 1971. As of 2012 Manson has been denied parole 12 times.

Charles Manson was an American criminal who ordered a string of murders of his followers, the Manson Family cult; these murders have established him as one of the most infamous figures in criminal history.  

Charles Manson was born on November 12, 1934, in Cincinnati, Ohio to sixteen-year-old Kathleen Maddox. Kathleen was notorious for her drinking and spent time in jail, including prison time for strong-armed robbery in 1940. Since his mother could not take care of him, Manson spent most of his childhood staying at various relatives’ homes until the uncle he was staying with committed suicide.

At the age of nine Manson began to steal, resulting in his incarceration at Indiana’s Gibault Home for Boys. Manson also added auto theft and burglary to his list of crimes. By the age of 17 he had committed his first federal offense, by driving a stolen car between states. Within his first year of prison he had eight assault charges before being moved to another prison.

After being in and out of prison for a few years Manson became known as a loner and a drifter. Over the years Manson gained a following known as, “The Family”. This was a group residing in  a deserted ranch in the San Fernando Valley. Manson had around 100 followers who believed, without question, his claims that he was Jesus and his predictions of a race war.

In August 1969, Manson gathered a group of his most loyal followers to carry out his massacre among Hollywood’s elite and “beautiful people.”Although Manson himself never committed any murders, he instructed his family to carry out several murders. His cult is thought to have carried out thirty five killings, most of which were never tried due to lack of evidence.

Manson and his family were tried for the murder of Sharon Tate, a twenty-six year old pregnant actress and four of her guests, along with a Los Angeles grocer Leno Bianca and his wife Rosemary.  

Ultimately, in 1969 Manson and his Family were arrested, not on suspicion of the murders, but because they were thought to be vandalizing the Death Valley National Park. But while in question, Susan Atkins admitted to some of the murders detailing her and her family’s involvement in them.

On January 25, 1971, Manson was convicted of first-degree murder for directing the deaths of the Tate and LaBianca victims. He was sentenced to death, but this was automatically commuted to life in prison after California’s Supreme Court invalidated all death sentences prior to 1972.

Laurie Levenson, a professor at Loyola Law School who follows high-profile cases, described Manson,  “If you’re going to be evil, you have to be off-the-charts evil, and Charlie Manson was off-the-charts evil,” said Levenson.

Plans for his internment are still being decided.

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Serial killer Charles Manson dead at 83