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Manson Family



Previously unheard audio tapes made by the late Billy Boyd, the attorney who represented Manson Family member Charles “Tex” Watson, reveal that Watson told Boyd in 1969 about “a bunch of other people Manson had killed” in addition to Sharon Tate Polanski, Jay Sebring, Steven Parent, Abigail Folger, and Wojciech Frykowski. (The Independent, 2/7/13) [IT 4.2 2013]

In 1963, two disenchanted Scientologists, Mary Ann MacLean, a former call girl from Glasgow, and Robert DeGrimston, an Englishman of noble birth, founded The Process Church of the Final Judgment, which made unauthorized use of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard’s e-meter to identify and exorcise compulsions and complexes. Mick Jagger “flirted” with the Process, which may have influenced some of his songs. DeGrimston was the “front man” of the group; MacLean “called the shots” in this “matriarchal cult.” A former Process editor says the two— she is deceased, he now works for Verizon—exploited church members for personal gain. Some former members admitted at a recent conference that the church was a con, but added that some of the best years of their lives were spent living in Process communities and selling magazines in the snow. The ex-editor denied the popular misconception that the Process directly influenced Charles Manson. He said Scientology spread the rumor after the Manson Family murders because MacLean and DeGrimston were apostates. A book on the group has recently been published: Love Sex Fear Death: The Inside Story of the Process Church of the Final Judgment. [csr 8.3 2009) 

Retired law enforcement officer Richard Forbes, who has investigated several cult leaders, testified at the December federal court competency hearing for Brian David Mitchell, who kidnapped and raped Elizabeth Smart, that Mitchell was similar to Ervil LeBaron and Charles Manson. "They're very similar in that Brian David [also] used revelations to control the movements of him, his wife and Elizabeth Smart. I think he used the excuse of a revelation to get people to do things he didn't want to do." Mitchell and LeBaron, both excommunicated from the Mormon church and claiming to be “the mighty one and strong,” both used threats of death, Forbes said. When asked by authorities about the kidnapping, Mitchell said: “She [Smart] was able to return anytime she wanted to,” Mitchell asserted. Despite Mitchell’s bizarre actions in court, a psychiatric technician at a hospital to which Mitchell was sent for evaluation twice, testified: “There was nothing in his behavior that was incompetent.” Two psychiatrists who found Mitchell competent during earlier hearings were scheduled to testify later this week. [csr 8.3 2009)

Members of the Manson Family, all on the verge of old age, continue to be haunted by their experience. ”I never have a day go by that I don’t think about it,” says Barbara Hoyt, who was 17 when the Tate-LaBianca murders took place. “I long ago accepted the fact it will never go away.” Some of those who aren’t in prison live under assumed names to hide their past. Others have had surgery to remove the “X” that Manson ordered them to carve on their foreheads. “Manson made a lot of victims besides the ones he killed,” says former follower Catherine Share. “He destroyed lives. . . He took all of our lives.” Former prosecutors worry that Manson, now 74, is becoming a cult hero to a new generation; he’s the subject of several websites, and Manson souvenirs are sold online. [csr 8.2, 2009)

Former Charles Manson follower Susan Atkins’ eleventh parole appeal has been denied by the California Board of Prison Terms, which said that she will not be allowed to appeal again until 2009. Atkins, a member of the Manson Family cult, took part in the 1969 murders of actress Sharon Tate and four others. A spokesman said the board cited the “gravity” of the crime and the “cruel and callous manner in which it was carried out” as reasons for the denial. (AP in San Diego-Tribune, Internet, 6/1/05) [csr 4.2 2005]

A California prison board has for the 15th time denied an appeal for parole by Charles Manson Family member Leslie Van Houston, convicted along with Charles Manson and several others for committing the infamous 1969 murders that he hoped would start a race war. Her defense had been that Manson brainwashed her into helping commit the crimes. Her prison record, according to her lawyer, indicates she has been a model inmate and poses no threat to the public. (Reuters, Internet, 8/25/04) [csr 3.3 2004]

According to Vincent Bugliosi, who prosecuted Charles Manson and co-wrote Helter Skelter, the best-selling book about the notorious multiple-murder case, Manson still receives more mail than any other inmate in the history of the American prison system. “Who is writing to him?” asks Bugliosi? “Young, impressionable kids going through a rebellious phase view him as some type of anti-establishment hero, a glorious outlaw.” Manson’s myth, shorn of the evil aspects, could grow even greater after his death.(Stephen Applebaum, Sunday Times, U.K., Internet, 7/11/04) [csr 3.3 2004]

Jeremy Davis plays Charles Manson in a new television movie “Helter Skelter," based on the notorious Tate/LaBianca murders of 1969 as recounted in Vincent Bugliosi’s book, Helter Skelter. (www.cbs.com, Internet, 5/16/04) [csr 3.2 2004 2004]

Patty Hearst, the newspaper heiress kidnapped by the Symbionese Liberation Army almost three decades ago, says that she is eager and willing to testify in the coming trial of four former SLA associates for a fatal bank robbery in 1975. "You know, it's been so long . . . and I feel that now there can be closure to this case," said Hearst, now Patricia Hearst Shaw, in a wide-ranging interview with Larry King. Prosecutors believe that new evidence, plus testimony from Hearst, who drove the getaway car, can convict the accused. [csr 1.1 2002]

Hearst had little good to say about her former captors. She believes that the "small revolutionary group" had its own jihad. They wanted to overthrow the government of the United States. They called themselves an army. They planned on forming cells and going on until they started a full-scale war in this country." She compared the SLA to the men who bombed the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, and to the Charles Manson cult. "Charles Manson wanted to start a war too," she said, recalling how Manson had his followers scrawl words in blood at one of their crime scenes that he hoped would trigger a race war. The son of the woman murdered during the robbery said that he thought Hearst was "a victim of the SLA as much as our family was." [csr 1.1 2002]

Hearst, who spent 21 months in prison until pardoned by former President Clinton, told King that she had been brainwashed by the SLA, a claim that her prosecutor at the time, Jim Browning, doesn't buy. "She has never admitted any culpability whatsoever, and that makes me uncomfortable," he says. "The question was, was she forced or not? The jury decided she was not." (John Koopman, San Francisco Chronicle, 1/23/02, Internet) [csr 1.1 2002]