Racist Cult Leader Charles Manson Dead at 83

Charles Manson, the notorious leader of the racist Manson family cult serving a life sentence for ordering his followers to commit murder in 1969, died in a California hospital of natural causes Sunday night at the age of 83, NBC confirms.

Manson built a following and sought to be the catalyst for an apocalyptic race war between blacks and whites. He called this predicted war Helter Skelter.

Manson was sentenced to death in 1970, but escaped execution due to the abolition of the death penalty in California.

The cult of the Manson family captured public attention for the horrifying 1969 murders of actor Sharon Tate and four of her friends in her home. Wojtek Frykowski, Jay Sebring, Steven Parent and Abigail Folger were the names of the other victims. 

Tex Watson and three female followers of Manson's cult committed the murders on Manson's command, although the original target had moved from the home. Two days later, Manson's followers murdered Leno and Rosemary LaBianca in their home, writing "Death to Pigs" and a misspelled version of "Helter Skelter" on the walls in blood.

The trial made national headlines for Manson and his followers' behavior during the proceedings. Manson attempted to physically attack the judge, and his associates engaged in intimidation tactics against witnesses.

After Manson went to prison, he continued to give media interviews featuring his bizarre behavior and incoherent ramblings.

The fate of Manson's followers became a point of public debate, namely their dual role as perpetrators of violence and victims of a violent male cult leader. Gov. Jerry Brown of California stepped into the controversy by denying the release of Leslie Van Houten after she was granted parole.

Manson was denied parole at every hearing.

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

DonateDonate by credit card


Don't Sit on the Sidelines of History. Join Alternet All Access and Go Ad-Free. Support Honest Journalism.