by Jillian Felker – Entertainment Editor
Cult leader and notorious murderer of the 1960’s who frightened the entire U.S nation, Charles Manson, died on Nov. 19. Manson died while in a hospital in Kern County, Cal. from natural causes, after having been admitted several days beforehand.
After marrying several times and having one child, all resulting in divorce, and after being imprisoned due to petty crimes (soon released in 1967), Manson formed the cult known as the Manson Family, which later evolved to more than 100 members.
Cult formed due to a similar liking for hallucinogenic drugs, and non-conventional lifestyle, especially during The Summer of Love (1967). Within the cult was a small group of hard-core believers, very young women, who believed he was Jesus and his prophecies of a race war
After the formation of the cult, the particularly hard-core followers were those who were believed to have carried out about 35 killings, mostly led by Manson. The most famous one beginning with Roman Polanski, acclaimed movie director, and his wife, Sharon Tate, an actress well-known for her roles in films such as Valley of the Dolls, and modeling during the 1960’s.
On Aug. 9, 1969, the murder of Polanski and all of those staying in the house that Polanski was renting north of Beverly Hills, which included his eight-month pregnant wife, Tate, took place. While Manson was not directly present during the killings, he directed four of his most devoted followers to the address of the home and instructed them to kill everyone.
After murdering those in the Polanski home, the following night the followers went out to the home of a wealthy supermarket executive and his wife, in which they also murdered the couple in a similarly tragic fashion.
During the trials for the murders, which were started on suspicion of vandalism and evolved into a murder trial upon evidence, members of the Manson Family came forward to testify against Manson, and spoke on how he used them emotionally, mentally, and physically over time. During the trials, it was revealed that they had planned to also murder Elizabeth Taylor and husband Richard Burton, Frank Sinatra, Steve McQueen and Tom Jones. The celebrities chosen so that the murders committed would shock the world and make people take notice.
In Jan. of 1971, Manson was convicted of first degree murder for the direction of the past murders, taken place during the 1960’s, in which Manson was initially given the death sentence. Although Cal. supreme court repealed the death sentence in 1972, his sentence was then converted to life in prison. Within the past decades, Manson has been denied parole 12 times.