The Manson family and their crimes raise many sociological questions? With the varying stories and the many people involved, questions likewhy were these murders committed?don't always yield clear answers. There are a number of motives, some believable and others with little or no evidence to back them up. Was there one true motive? Or were the murders the result of a combination of events? Who knows? Everyone seems to have his or her own theory.
Hinman::There seems to be some confusion as to why Gary Hinman was killed. One story goes; Manson was under the impression that Gary had inherited a large some of money. He told Bobby Beausoleil, Mary Brunner, and Susan Atkins to go over to Hinman's and get the money and Gary was subsequently killed after he refused to give them anything. The other story, which Beausoleil himself never brought up in either of his two trials, was that Hinman had sold him some mescaline, which Bobby sold to some bikers that hung around Spahn's Movie Ranch. A day later the bikers returned claiming the mescaline was bogus and demanded a refund. So Beausoleil went over to Hinman's to get his money back. In an OUI magazine interview Bobby recalled, "I didn't go there with the intention of killing Gary. If I was going to kill him, I wouldn't have taken the girls. I was going there for one purpose only, which was to collect $1000 that I had already turned over to him, that didn't belong to me." When Hinman refused the group his money and car titles a three-day conflict began. During which time Manson himself came over and took his sword to the side of Gary's face, slicing up his ear. On the third day, Susan remembered, "Mary and I were in the kitchen. Bobby walked in and said quietly, "You two stay in here. I'm going to have to kill him." "I couldn't stop myself. I ran into the room. Gary was standing, holding his stomach, and Bobby clutched a knife." At one of his trials, Beausoleil stated that he hadn't killed Hinman, Manson had. But in the OUI interview he said Manson wasn't even there. "You see the Sheriff's Homicide Department wanted to get Manson involved in my case, which was very difficult because Manson was not involved." Beausoleil continued and said that Hinman was killed because "he told me that he was going to the police (and tell them) that I had come and assaulted him to get money from him. I had my back against the wall."
Copycat::After Bobby Beausoleil was arrested for the murder of Gary Hinman the family began to panic. Susan Atkins remembers, "Instantly the atmosphere at Spahn's tightened even more. We figured it would be only hours before the police came down on us. But, additionally, we all were affected by Charlie's obsession with getting Bobby out of jail. Bobby had been driven by a need to prove himself as tough as Charlie, and now Charlie was possessed with the need to prove his loyalty to his 'brother.' To die for him if necessary." "Out of all the confusion and the mass of words, the constant use of drugs, came a vague sort of scheme to try to convince the police that Bobby could not have done the Hinman killing. It was a plan for "copycat murders" that would make the police believe they had the wrong man in jail." To this day Charles Manson states this as the true motive and that it was the others at the ranch that came up with the plan. However, this whole story is suspect because it didn't surface until after the murder convictions. It was first brought up in the penalty phase of the Tate/Labianca murder trial. A series of family members testified that not only had the murders been committed to get Bobby freed from jail. But that Linda Kasabian, the prosecution's star witness, had come up with the plan. Many years later some of those who testified admitted they had lied in an effort to exonerate Charlie.
Melcher::Terry Melcher - the son of Doris Day - and his girlfriend Candice Bergen lived at 10050 Cielo Drive before Sharon Tate and Roman Polanski. Terry had met Manson at a party at Beach Boy Dennis Wilson's house in Pacific Palisades. With time, Melcher's associate Greg Jakobson became fascinated with Charlie's philosophy and life style and began urging Terry to record him. Jakobson talked Melcher into coming down to Spahn's Movie Ranch to hear Manson and the girls play. After hearing them play once Terry returned to the ranch with a friend he thought might be interested in recording Manson and company. Jakobson recalled, "I think Terry showed some interest in the music, but there was nothing positive. There was never any, 'Yes, I will record you' talk going on. It was like that was the preliminaries and nothing ever came of it." Manson felt other wise. Tex Watson recollected, "Terry, Charlie told us, had made him some big promises and then never come through. Terry, Charlie said, didn't care about anything but money. Gradually, it seemed clearer and clearer, at least to us, that Terry Melcher was the one who had failed Charlie, who had led him along and then betrayed him, who had kept his music from the world." After dinner on August 8, 1969 Charlie took Tex aside. According to Watson Manson told him, "What I want…I want you to go to that house where Melcher used to live - [we knew that by now Terry had moved down to a beach house in Malibu] - I want you to take a couple of the girls I'll send with you and go down there…and totally destroy everyone in that house, as gruesome as you can." In Susan Atkins' December 1969 published confession she said, "The reason Charlie picked the house was to instill fear into Terry Melcher because Terry had given his word on a few things and never came through with them." A similar theory has been applied to the Labianca murder. Phil Kaufman - who Charlie befriended in Terminal Island prison before being released in 1967 - had connections to the music industry and was trying to help Manson get a break. Kaufman also used to hang out at the home of Harold True, who until September of 1968 lived on Waverly Drive next to the Labianca house. None of Kaufman's music industry connections panned out for Charlie and Phil suggested that one possible reason why Manson picked the Labianca house was to send him a message.
Drug Burn::Almost immediately after the Tate murders were discovered police began investigating the possibility of a drug burn. This was based upon the small amount of drugs found on the property and some rumors that Wojciech Frykowski was getting involved with the distribution of a new drug known as MDA. Wild stories began snowballing in the tabloids and eventually leaked into more mainstream media outlets. However, other than hearsay and rumors there hasn't been any concrete evidence published over the years to suggest that Frykowski was actually dealing drugs. Though some family members were familiar with the property, no one has suggested that they knew any of the victims. In Susan's confession she recalled, "I had no idea who lived in the house when we were driving up there, not when we got there, and not after it was all over. I don't guess anyone else did either. Not Charlie, not Tex, no one. Not till the next day when it came over TV." This was confirmed by Watson, "[Manson] apparently didn't know who was living in the house or how many people we might find, but whoever and however many it was we were to kill them all…" During the penalty phase of the trial Susan and the others tried hard to exonerate Manson while at the same time blame it all on Linda Kasabain. In Susan's testimony she stated that Linda "told me to get a knife and a change of clothes…she said these people in Beverly Hills had burned her for $1,000 for some new drug, MDA.." The story was clearly a fabrication, but one must wonder why MDA came into it? Did she read about it in the newspaper or was there more to the story?
Helter Skelter::The Helter Skelter motive is definitely a bizarre story and very hard to believe. While many reject it as a motive for the murders, no one can deny that Helter Skelter was something that the family talked about, a lot. There is loads of testimony from various family members that confirmed Manson talked about it constantly. Susan remembered, "Charlie obtained The Beatles' so-called White Album in late 1968. It had a tremendous impact on our lives, especially Charlie's. One night when many of us were playing records and listening to the album, Charlie said, "They're speaking to me." "Charlie was preaching constantly about the end of the world and the need to flee into the country, specifically the desert." Watson also recollected, "It was violent death, physical death that he meant when he told us that death was beautiful, because it was the thing people feared the most. Yet, he said, death was nothing but an illusion in the mind anyway, so killing a human being was merely destroying a fantasy. He kept repeating that the spirit, the soul, can never be killed; it is one and eternal - the illusion of physical death merely opens the resistant spirit to realization of its essential oneness with all that is." Did Manson and the family really believe in Helter Skelter? And was it the actual motive behind the murders? Who knows? Nonetheless, this was the motive presented at the trial and this is the motive that the convictions were based on. Read more about the Helter Skelter motive and the connections Manson made between the Bible and the White Albumhere.
^ SUSAN DENISE ATKINS AKA:Sadie Mae Glutz, Sexy Sadie, Donna Kay Powell, Sharon King DOB:5.7.48 Order of the Rainbow Color:Violet Prisoner ID:W08304 Prison:California Institute for Women(at Frontera)
Susan Denise Atkins was born in California on May 5, 1948. Her mother was afflicted with cancer and died when Susan was still in her teens. Constantly fighting with her alcoholic father, Susan decided to hit the road; dropping out of school and moving to San Francisco. She got a job as a telemarketer for a company that sold magazine subscriptions, rented a room and soon found herself poor, lonely, and depressed. She eventually quit her telemarketing job and started waiting tables at a local coffee shop. It was there that she met a couple of escaped convicts and decided to hit the road with them. The three committed several armed robberies up the west coast, and were eventually caught in Oregon. The men were sent to prison, and Susan got probation after she served three months in jail. When she was released, she came back to San Francisco and found work as a topless dancer. It was there she danced in a show called theWitch's Sabbathorganized by Church of Satan founder Anton LaVey.
After quitting her job, Susan met Charles Manson. Her experiences with him had a profound effect on her, and she decided to leave San Francisco to travel with the family to Los Angeles. When the family got fake ID's, Manson gave her the name Sadie Glutz. Tex Watson would later say, Susan was one of Charlie's biggest cheerleaders. Sadie seemed to enjoy going on the "Creepy Crawler" missions; dressed in black, family members would sneak into random houses at night, while people were sleeping. Inside they would creep around, rearrange things as well as steal.
Sadie's demands for attention often put her in conflicts with Manson. She was reportedly kicked out of the family for a while, and was often blamed for getting the family contracted with the clap. Susan was among the family members who lived in Mendocino California for a short period of time. The group was arrested after giving LSD to a group of local kids, and at their trial, they were nicknamed the "Witch's of Mendocino". In October of 1968, Sadie gave birth to a baby boy, which she named Zezozecee Zadfrack. After the birth of Zadfrack, Atkins spent time recovering at theFountain Of The World, a nearby religious retreat.
In 1969, Susan was present at both the Hinman and Tate murders. Susan, Mary Brunner, and Bobby Beausoleil, took turns smothering Gary Hinman with a pillow after Beausoleil had stabbed him twice. Weeks later, Atkins took part in the Cielo Drive murders, she stabbed Wojciech Frykowski in the legs about 4 times, and helped Charles "Tex" Watson kill Sharon Tate. On the way out of the house, she wrote "PIG" on the front door, in Tate's blood. When the family was rounded up in Death Valley, Kitty Lutesinger implicated Susan in the Hinman murder. While in jail, Susan bragged about the Tate murders to her cellmates, who later told police, and 6 family members, including Atkins, were indicted on the Tate-Labianca murders.
In December, Susan went before a Los Angeles Grand Jury and told all. In the beginning, she was going to be the prosecution's star witness, hoping to avoid the death penalty. But before the trial started, Susan took back everything she told the Grand Jury and renewed her loyalty to Manson. After a nine-month trial, Susan was convicted of seven counts of first degree murder and one count conspiracy to commit murder. In March of 1971, she and her co-defendants were sentenced to death.
Susan was sent off to theCalifornia Institute for Women, where both Leslie Van Houten and Patricia Krenwinkel shunned her for snitching on the family. Meanwhile, a doctor adopted Susan's son Zezozecee Zadfrack, whose name was changed to Paul. In the mid 70's, family member Bruce Davis turned Susan on to Jesus. Atkins claimed that Jesus came into her cell, and she became born-again. In 1977, the year before her first parole hearing, Susan wrote an autobiography with Bob Slosser calledChild Of Satan, Child Of God. Since her incarceration in 1971, Susan has only received four minor write-ups. In 1981, she married a Texan named Donald Lee Laisure. She had corresponded with Laisure for years, but he had lied to her the whole time. Laisure, who had previously been married 35 times, claimed to be a millionaire, which he wasn't. When Susan found out, three months after their marriage, she filed for divorced. She married again in 1987, this time to a man named James W. Whitehouse (a law student fifteen years her junior).
Throughout the years, Susan has kept herself busy with her own prison ministry as well as completing an Associates degree through correspondence courses. She was denied parole for the 10th time in December of 2000. Her next hearing will be held in 2004.
^ ROBERT KENNETH BEAUSOLEIL AKA:Cupid, Jasper, Cherub, Robert Lee Hardy, Jason Lee Daniels DOB:11.6.47 Prisoner ID:B28302 or 11100535 Prison:Oregan State Peniteniary
The first of five children (2 sisters & 2 brothers), Bobby Beausoleil was born in Santa Barbara, California in 1947. Bobby displayed an interest in music at a very young age, and eventually taught himself how to play the guitar. When Beausoleil was 16, he had an affair with a cousin's wife; angered by the affair, his cousin left. Young Bobby was forced to play the role of husband, working for a trailer company to support his cousin's wife and child. After the death of a grandmother Bobby moved to Los Angeles. There, he briefly played in a band with Arthur Lee, calledGrass Roots.Grass Rootswould later achieve fame under the nameLove. Lee apparently named the groupLoveas a reference to Beausoleil's nickname "Cupid". Bobby also became friends with Frank Zappa, and can be heard as a backup singer on Zappa's first record,Freak Out. However, the city of Angels proved to be too superficial for Bobby, so he traveled north and fell in love with the Bay Area.
In San Francisco, Beausoleil began playing with a band calledThe Outfit, but eventually dropped out and started his own band calledOrkustra. The group played gigs in the Bay area from 1966 to '67, and as the group was in the process of breaking up, Bobby met filmmaker Kenneth Anger. Anger and Beausoleil worked together on the filmLucifer Rising, in which, Bobby played the part of Lucifer, and helped compose the score. At that time Beausoleil was playing in a band calledMagick Powerhouse of Oz, and living at Anger's "Russian Embassy" house. In the fall of '67, Beausoleil and Anger had a falling out, so Bobby decided to move back to Los Angeles.
In Los Angeles, Beausoleil once again found acting work and was featured in soft porn titledRamrodder. The movie was filmed at Spahn's Movie Ranch and also starred family member Catherine Share. Bobby was living in the basement of Gary Hinman's Topanga Canyon home when he first ran into Manson and the Family at a house called the "Spiral Staircase". Bobby's musical talent impressed Charlie and the girls, and Bobby started hanging around with them. In the summer of 1969, Beausoleil sold $1000 worth of LSD to a group of bikers that were hanging around Spahn's Ranch. Gary Hinman had made the LSD, but according to the bikers it wasn't good and they wanted their money back. So Beausoleil, with Family members Mary Brunner and Susan Atkins, went to Hinman to get a refund. Hinman on the other hand felt that the LSD was good and refused to give up any money. After a phone call to Spahn's Ranch, Charles Manson and Bruce Davis came to the house. Immediately after entering, Manson sliced off Hinman's left ear with a sword. Charlie and Bruce left immediately. After two more days, Hinman was still refusing to give Beausoleil any money. Bobby stabbed Gary twice in the chest as Susan Atkins and Mary Brunner smothered Hinman's face with a pillow.
Beausoleil was arrested for the murder of Gary Hinman on Thursday, August 7, 1969. He had two trials, and was eventually convicted and sentenced to death. His death sentence was commuted to Life when California briefly outlawed the death penalty in 1972. In 1982, he married his current wife Barbara. Today he is serving his sentence in Oregon State Penitentiary and still continues to make music.
MARY THRESA BRUNNER AKA:Mother Mary, Mary Manson, Marioche, Linda Dee Moser, Christine Marie Euchts, Och DOB:12.17.43
Mary Brunner was born in Wisconsin in the early 40's. She went to theUniversity of Wisconsinand got a Bachelors degree in History. After graduating, Brunner headed west, and took on a job at the^ UC BerkeleyLibrary. In 1967, she met and took in Charles Manson. Brunner has become known as the first member of what would become the Manson Family. She left her job, hit the road with Charlie, and the Family was born.
On April 1, 1968, Mary gave birth to Valentine Michael Manson, aka "Pooh Bear", the first baby of the Family. In July of 1969, Mary witnessed Bobby Beausoleil stab Gary Hinman; she and Susan Atkins took turns smothering Hinman's face as he lay dying. On the night of the Tate murders, Mary was in jail with Sandra Good. Brunner and Good were arrested earlier that afternoon for using a stolen credit card at aSearsdepartment store. Danny DeCarlo later implicated Brunner in the Hinman murder, however she turned states evidence and was granted immunity.
On August 21, 1971, the LAPD responded to a silent alarm set-off at aWestern Surplusstore in Hawthorne. They arrived in time to catch 6 family members, including Mary, in the middle of an armed robbery. After a brief shootout, the family members were detained. Along with Brunner, the LAPD arrested Catherine Share, Charles Lovett, Lawrence Bailey, Kenneth Como, and Dennis Rice. The group had stolen close to 150 guns, which they intended on using, while hijacking a 747 jumbo jet, in which, they would kill one passenger every hour until Manson and company were released from prison.
For the part in the Hawthorne shootout, Mary served six and a half years at the^ California Institute for Women, while Pooh Bear went to live with Brunner's parents. Mary has since took on an assumed name, and is last reported to be living in the Midwest.
BRUCE McGREGOR DAVIS AKA:Bruce McMillan, George McGregor, Jack Paul DOB:10.5.42 Prisoner ID:B41079 Prison:California Men's Colony
Bruce Davis was born in Monroe, Louisiana on October 5, 1942. He grew up in Mobil, Alabama, and was the youngest of 2 children. After high school Davis attended college in Tennessee for about 2 years, then dropped out and moved west where he became immersed in the hippy counter culture. In the west, Davis made a living doing construction work, and in 1967, ran into Charles Manson, Mary Brunner, Lynette Fromme, & Patricia Krenwinkel in Oregon. Manson liked having another man around, plus Charlie and Bruce had a few things in common. Like Manson, Davis was a good musician, had an interest in Scientology, and was an ex-con.
From November of 1968 to April 1969, Bruce lived in London, England working at the Scientology headquarters. Davis was kicked out of the organization because of his drug use, he then returned to the states, where he rejoined the family. In the family, Davis acted as a comptroller, handling all the stolen credit cards and fake ID's.
In July of 1969, Bruce was present when Manson chopped off Gary Hinman's left ear. In late August, Bruce assisted Manson, Tex Watson, and Steve Grogan, in the murder of Spahn's Ranch hand Donald "Shorty" Shea. After which Davis, along with the rest of the family, moved to the Barker Ranch in Death Valley. Bruce was arrested and charged with grand theft auto in the Barker Ranch raid held on October 12, 1969. He was eventually released due to insufficient evidence.
On November 5, 1969, Davis was present when Christopher Jesus, aka "Zero", allegedly killed himself playing Russian roulette. While the death was suspicious, and police ruled it a suicide, Davis had admitted to them that he picked up the gun after Zero had killed himself.
In April of 1970, Mary Brunner implicated Davis in the Hinman murder, and he immediately went into hiding. On Manson's orders Davis turned himself in on December 2, 1970. Afterwhich, Bruce went on trial for the murders of both Hinman and Shea. He was convicted for both murders and sentenced to Life imprisonment. Davis was briefly suspected of being the Zodiac killer (a mysterious killer that terrorized California by committing several bizarre homicides in the 60's and 70's), but was ruled out as a suspect by the FBI. In prison Bruce became a born-again Christian, and through correspondence he assisted Susan Atkins in finding Jesus. Bruce is currently incarcerated at theCalifornia Men's Colonyin San Luis Obispo, California.