Childhood & Early Life
Charles Manson was born to Kathleen Maddox, a 16 year old unmarried woman in Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S. At first he was named ‘no name Maddox’. Sometime after his birth, his mother married William Manson, a labour, and the new born child was named Charles Milles Maddox.
His mother filed a bastardy suit against his biological father, Colonel Walker Scott. In 1939, when police detained his mother on charge of robbery, he was placed in his aunt’s home in McMechen, West Virginia.
During Kathleen’s 1942 parole, she retrieved Charles and used to live with him in run-down hotel rooms. Later the court placed him in Gibault School for Boys, Terre Haute, Indiana from where he escaped to his mother after ten months. But his mother declined to take his responsibility.
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Offences & Incarceration
He started his criminal activities by committing a burglary at a grocery store. After that, he was involved in several cases of burglary. When police arrested him, he was sent to a juvenile centre in Indianapolis.
Later, he was sent to Washington, D.C’s ‘National Training School for Boys’ where he spent four years. In October 1951, on the recommendation of a psychiatrist, he was transferred to ‘Natural Bridge Honor Camp’ from where he was once again transferred to the ‘Federal Reformatory’ in Virginia for his antisocial activities.
Due to his undisciplined behavior, he was transferred to the ‘Federal Reformatory’ at Chillicothe, Ohio in September 1952. There he became a model resident, exhibiting good behavior and improving his academics, which resulted in his parole in May 1954.
The next year, when he reached Los Angeles in a car which he had stolen in Ohio, he faced charges of a federal crime and was put on probation for five years. In March 1956, police arrested him in Indianapolis for not appearing before a Los Angeles court in connection to a federal crime filed in Florida.
In September 1959, he faced charges for his attempt to cash a forged U.S. Treasury cheque. However, he received a 10-year suspended sentence when Leona, a woman who claimed to be in love with him, plead for his release before the court.
But police detained him on his way from California to New Mexico with Leona and another woman for violating the ‘Mann Act.’ He disappeared shortly after his release and a bench warrant was issued.
The police caught him in Laredo, Texas. After his return to Los Angeles, he was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment for his attempt to cash the forged cheque. In 1961, he was transferred from the ‘Los Angeles County Jail’ to the ‘United States Penitentiary’ at McNeil Island.
After his release from jail on March 21, 1967, he moved to Berkeley, California where he earned his livelihood by begging.
While living in California, he met Mary Brunner, a library assistant at ‘University of California’ and moved in with her. By establishing himself as a ‘guru’ in San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury, he organized a group of members to whom he used to preach his philosophy of Scientology.
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Along with some of his followers, he traveled in an old school bus to several places in the US. Later, the group shifted to musician Dennis Wilson’s house.
Once released from prison, Manson began attracting a group of followers, mostly young women, from around California. They were later dubbed the ‘Manson Family.’
‘The Manson Family’ was a desert commune and cult, active in California in the late 1960s. Led by Charles Manson, the group consisted of approximately 100 of his followers who lived an unconventional lifestyle with habitual use of hallucinogenic drugs.
In 1968, the group relocated to Spahn’s Movie Ranch. After a brief period, they moved to Death Valley in Eastern California. Due to the Manson Family’s involvement in a number of murder cases, he went through legal wrangle for several years.
He gained national notoriety after the mass murder of actress Sharon Tate, four of Tate’s friends, Leno LaBianca, and Rosemary LaBianca in August 1969. Tex Watson and three other members of the ‘Manson Family’ executed the Tate-LaBianca murders, acting under Manson's specific instructions.
In 1970, Manson's debut studio album titled ‘Lie: The Love and Terror Cult’ was released. The album included a single titled ‘Cease to Exist,’ which had served as an inspiration to Beach Boys’ 1968 song ‘Never Learn Not to Love.’ Over the next couple of months, only about 300 of the album's 2,000 copies sold.
After a trial in 1971, he was admitted to state prison from Los Angeles County for seven counts of first-degree murder and one count of conspiracy to commit the murder of Sharon Tate Polanski, Abigail Ann Folger, Leno LaBianca, Rosemary LaBianca, Wojciech Frykowski, Jay Sebring, and Steven Earl Parent. Though he was initially sentenced to death, his sentence was changed to life with the possibility of parole on February 2, 1977, as the death penalty was ruled unconstitutional in 1972.
On September 25, 1984, Manson was imprisoned at the ‘California Medical Facility’ in Vacaville when a fellow inmate named Jan Holmstrom poured paint thinner on him and set him on fire, causing second and third-degree burns on more than 20 percent of his body.
In 1997, he was transferred from ‘Corcoran State Prison’ to ‘Pelican Bay State Prison’ for his involvement in drug trafficking.
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Personal Life & Legacy
In January 1955, he married Rosalie Jean Willis, a hospital waitress with whom he had a son named Charles Manson, Jr. Later, Rosalie started living with another man.
Rosalie received a decree of divorce in 1958. In 1959, he married a prostitute named Leona with whom he had a son named Charles Luther. He divorced Leona in 1963.
He was denied parole on April 11, 2012. According to prison officials, as a patient of several health and mental problems like schizophrenia and paranoid delusional disorder, his release from jail will prove dangerous. Currently he is imprisoned at Corcoran State Prison in California.
In 2014, it was announced that the imprisoned Manson was engaged to 26-year-old Afton Elaine ‘Star’ Burton and had obtained a marriage license on November 7. The wedding license expired on February 5, 2015, without a marriage ceremony taking place. It was later reported that the wedding was canceled when it was discovered that Burton wanted to marry Manson so that she could use his corpse as a tourist attraction after his death.
On January 1, 2017, Manson was taken to Mercy Hospital in downtown Bakersfield from California State Prison in Corcoran as he was suffering from gastrointestinal bleeding . He was considered him too weak for surgery so he returned back to prison by January 6.
On November 15, 2017, it was reported that Manson was admitted to a hospital in Bakersfield due to health complications. He reportedly died of natural causes at the hospital on November 19.