Charles Manson was an American criminal who led what became known as the Manson Family, a quasi-commune that arose in California in the late 1960s.
He was found guilty of conspiracy to commit the murders of seven people, including the actress Sharon Tate, all of which were carried out by members of the group at his instruction.
Here are ten fun facts about Charles Manson:
1. Charles Manson was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, on November 12, 1934.
2. His mother, Kathleen Maddox, was a 16-year-old prostitute who married Manson’s father, Colonel Walker Scott, before Manson was born.
3. Manson had a troubled childhood and was reportedly abused by his mother and stepfather. He spent time in reform school and juvenile detention centres before being sent to prison for the first time in 1955 for stealing cars.
4. In 1967, while living in San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury district, Manson became involved with the “counterculture” scene and developed an interest in music after meeting Beach Boys drummer Dennis Wilson.
5. Manson later moved to Los Angeles where he assembled a group of followers known as the “Manson Family.” The group included several young women who were attracted to Manson’s charismatic personality.
6. In August 1969, the Manson Family carried out a series of murders that shocked the nation and made headlines around the world. The victims included actress Sharon Tate (who was pregnant at the time), writer Wojciech Frykowski, coffee heiress Abigail Folger and Steven Parent (a friend of Tate’s husband Roman Polanski). Other victims included Leno and Rosemary LaBianca (murdered the following day). All of the killings were carried out at the direction of Charles Manson.
7. The motive for the murders remains unclear but it is believed that Manson wanted to start a race war which he called “Helter Skelter” (after The Beatles song of the same name). However, many believe that Manson simply wanted attention and notoriety. Regardless of his motives, the crimes committed by Charles Manson remain some of the most shocking and brutal in American history.
8. After an extensive investigation, police finally arrested Charles Manson and several members of his “family” in late 1969.
9. Following a highly publicised trial, Manson was originally sentenced to death, but his sentence was commuted to life in prison after California abolished capital punishment in 1972.
10 . He died of natural causes at the age of 83 on November 19, 2017.