‘A criminal is not a criminal by birth but made by the world’. This holds true in the case of Charles Manson. Born on 12th November 1934 to an unwed teenage mother in Cincinnati, Charles never knew his biological father. His mother later married William Manson who gave Charles his last name. His mother was a thief who sold him off for a pitcher of beer.
When all other kids his age were in school with the security of loving parents, Charles was moving from one reform school to another. His mother put him in a foster home as her alcoholic ways and prostitution could not afford to provide for Charles. When Charles ran back to her from the home she rejected him and threw him out on the streets. This was a turning point in Charles’s life. He started to steal and at 19 years of age car thefts kept him in and out of jail for a while. He was very intelligent and sharp and psychiatrists judged that he possessed a high I.Q. Once out of jail he married 17-year-old Rosalie Jean Willis in 1955, and wished to move to California and start a new life. But it was not to be. He stole a car soon after marriage and was arrested. On giving birth to a son, Willis ran away with a truck driver.
With personal life in shambles law enforcement agencies tried to rehabilitate him. Psychiatrists said Manson showed marked degree of rejection, instability and psychic trauma. He was unpredictable and showed signs of assaultive tendencies. In spite of his age he was criminally sophisticated. In 1960 he was arrested again for soliciting prostitution and got a jail term of 10 years. Here he met Alvin Karpis the famous bank robber from whom he learned music and to play the guitar. He wanted to become a famous musician like Beatles. Had that happened, crime rate in America could have been considerably reduced. While in prison or on probation, he had stolen cars, pimped inmates, raped another inmate and forged federal checks. By the age of 33 he had spent more than half his life in prison.
Charles Manson had a ‘family’ of hippies made up of like minded people like him. He was bisexual and his women worshipped him. All these girls had sexual relations with him. He told them that “they belong to themselves and not to him”. One of the girls Susan Atkins said that she would do anything for Charles. She killed Actress Sharon Tate and said that ‘it was the most exciting sexual experience of her life’. The gruesome killings chilled and paralyzed America in 1969. The Manson Family was responsible for several murders, known collectively as the Tate-LaBianca murders. The motive behind the murders was that he was rejected by the music industry and wanted revenge. So he asked some members of his family to go to the house of record producer Terry Melcher and kill whoever was on the premises. They entered the compound of Roland Polanski, the famous Hollywood Director and his wife Sharon Tate who was eight months pregnant. Before entering the house they first shot dead Steve Parent, an 18 year old who was the friend of the gardener because he had seen the intruders while getting into his car. Frykowski and Folger, who were staying in the house until Polanski’s return from London, were able to escape from the living room but succumbed in the lawn. Frykowski was stabbed fifty-one times, shot twice, and pistol-whipped over a dozen times. This was allegedly inspired by the Beatles song “Piggies”. Folger was stabbed 28 times by Krenwinkel after being tackled on the lawn.
Inside the house intruders asked if anyone had money, and, in replying that she did, Abigail Folger, heiress to the Folgers Coffee Company, was led to her bedroom to empty her purse. She was led back to the living room where the four occupants of the house were tied together. Jay Sebring, a noted hairstylist and friend of the Polańskis was visiting, and when he attempted to defend Tate, he was shot by Watson, who then kicked him several times in the face.
Tate, eight months pregnant, begged for the life of her unborn child and was rebuffed by Atkins, who coldly replied, “Look bitch, I have no mercy for you” before stabbing the actress sixteen times.
The killing of wealthy super market executive and his wife, the La Bianca couple, is another cold blooded murder by Charles Manson and his ‘family’. On this occasion Manson himself went along to show his accomplices how to perform the ‘act’. He tied the couples and then instructed Watson, Krenwinkel and Leslie Van Houten to stab them. Watson killed Mr. La Bianca while the girls stabbed his wife even after she died. They carved out the word ‘WAR’ upon her chest and left the fork embedded in her body. With her blood on a piece of paper the words ‘rise’ and ‘death to pigs’ were written. On the wall was ‘Healter Skelter’ misspelled from the Beatles song Helter Skelter. Manson also killed high school music teacher Gary Hinman because he apparently owed him some money.
Manson is now languishing in jail in California and probably for the rest of his life. He is known to shock people especially when in media glare. He is eligible for parole in 2007.
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