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Who were the Manson Family members, why did they kill actress Sharon Tate and how many people did they kill?


THE Manson Family were a notorious drug-fuelled cult that followed evil psychopath Charles Manson around California in the late 1960s and the anniversary of their killing spree is just around the corner.

Members of the commune carried out horrific murders on Manson’s orders, including killing actress Sharon Tate — but who were they?

 Manson, left, with Patricia Krenwinkel, second left, Susan Atkins, second from right, Leslie Van Houten, right, and Manson’s chief lieutenant Charles 'Tex' Watson in the centre

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Manson, left, with Patricia Krenwinkel, second left, Susan Atkins, second from right, Leslie Van Houten, right, and Manson’s chief lieutenant Charles ‘Tex’ Watson in the centre

Who was in the Manson Family?

The Manson Family was a semi-commune that lived in disused buildings, dilapidated houses and toured the west coast of America during the 1967 “Summer of Love” hippie phenomenon.

They moved as a large fluid group, with some fleeting members joining in with Manson’s acid ramblings for days or weeks before moving on.

But a core group were devoted to Charles Manson and hung on his every word, believing, as he had told them, that he was Christ.

He told them they were a reincarnation of the early Christians fighting the Roman establishment — and that they had to follow his bidding.

The most prominent members, who would all go on to murder or commit other crimes, were Leslie Van Houten, Bobby Beausoleil, Paul Watkins, Catherine Share, Mary Brunner, Susan Atkins, Linda Kasabian, Steve Grogan, Patricia Krenwinkel, Charles Watson and Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme.

Even prominent Hollywood celebs and music figures fell under Manson’s spell, with Beach Boys drummer Dennis Wilson meeting him by chance and quickly allowing him and his followers to move into his Sunset Boulevard home.

Through Wilson, Manson met a showbiz manager Rudi Altobelli, who was renting a house to director Roman Polanski and his wife, Sharon Tate.

In November 1968, Manson and his followers listened to The Beatles’ White Album, which they became obsessed with and which somehow sparked their warped plan to start a race war and prepare for the apocalypse.

 Manson pictured in 1970. He has since become a cult figure

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Manson pictured in 1970. He has since become a cult figure
 Charles Manson married his first wife Rosalie Jean Willis in January 1955

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Charles Manson married his first wife Rosalie Jean Willis in January 1955Credit: Wikipedia

What murders did the Manson Family commit?

The Manson Family carried out a number of murders in 1969.

In July of that year, Gary Hinman, an acquaintance of Manson’s, was held captive at his house by three Manson followers demanding money before one, Bobby Beausoleil, stabbed him to death and smeared blood over the walls.

On the group’s most murderous night, August 9, 1969, Manson told followers Susan Atkins, Linda Kasabian, Patricia Krenwinkel and Charles Watson to murder pregnant actress Sharon Tate and everyone else at the property.

Sharon’s friends Jay Sebring, Abigail Folger, Wojciech Frykowski, and Stephen Parent, a friend of the caretaker, were slaughtered.

Elsewhere, family member Steve Grogan killed Donald “Shorty” Shea

The following night, Manson ordered members of the Family to the home of supermarket executive Leno LaBianca and his wife Rosemary.

They were tied up and brutally stabbed to death before their bodies were desecrated.

In 1971, Manson, Atkins and Krenwinkel were found guilty and sentenced to death.

 Manson with twisted fan Afton ‘Star’ Burton

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Manson with twisted fan Afton ‘Star’ BurtonCredit: Rex Features
 Members of the Manson Family arriving for their arraignment in 1970

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Members of the Manson Family arriving for their arraignment in 1970Credit: News Dog Media
 Afton Burton allegedly only wanted to marry Manson so she could use his body as a tourist attraction after his death

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Afton Burton allegedly only wanted to marry Manson so she could use his body as a tourist attraction after his deathCredit: Polaris – Eyevine

In a separate trial in 1971, Watson was also found guilty and sentenced to death.

All the death penalties were commuted to life in prison in 1972 when the death penalty was abolished in California.

Leslie Van Houten was found guilty of the LaBianca murders and sentenced to death in March 1971, later commuted to life in prison.

Beausoleil was sentenced to death, commuted to life in prison.

Grogan was sentenced to life.

Charles Manson was originally sentenced to death in 1971 but was spared execution and his sentence was converted to life in prison after the California Supreme Court declared the death penalty unconstitutional in that state.

Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme pulled a gun out on then President Gerald Ford in 1975. She was sentenced to life in prison.

 

How did Charles Manson die?

On November 19, 2017, the evil cult leader died aged 83 from natural causes in a hospital in California.

Previously, TMZ reported that Manson was rushed to a Bakersfield hospital on November 12 and had been steadily deteriorating.

A source said “it’s just a matter of time” reporting that Manson is laying still, covered in blankets and guarded by five uniformed cops.