The Manson family and their crimes raise many sociological questions? With the varying stories and the many people involved, questions like



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^ LESLIE LOUISE VAN HOUTEN
AKA: Lulu, Leslie Marie Sankston, Leslie Sue, Leslie Owens, Louella Maxwell Alexandria,
DOB: 8.23.49 
Order of the Rainbow Color: Green
Prisoner ID: W13378
Prison: California Institute for Women in Frontera

Leslie Louise Van Houten was born on August 23, 1949 in Los Angeles, California. She and her older brother grew up in a typical middle class household. Leslie's father Paul was an automotive auctioneer, and her mother Jane was a schoolteacher. After Leslie, there were two more additions; the Van Houtens adopted a young boy and girl that had been orphaned in Korea. In 1963 Leslie's parents divorced, Paul moved out and the children stayed with Jane. Meanwhile, Leslie began attending Monrovia High School, where she was twice elected homecoming queen. Like many at the time, she discovered hallucinogenic drugs, and her grades soon started to slip. She drifted away from her extracurricular activities, and shortly after, got pregnant and had an abortion. 

After graduating high school in 1967, Leslie moved in with her father and began attending a business college; studying to become a legal secretary. She began gravitating towards spiritualism, and planned to live in a yogic spiritual community. In the summer of 1968, Leslie was visiting friends in San Francisco when she met Catherine Share, Bobby Beausoleil, and his wife Gail. She began traveling with them, and in September they took her to meet Charles Manson at Spahn's Movie Ranch. She returned to the ranch three weeks later, this time she didn't leave. 

Like others in the family, Leslie became dedicated to Charlie. According to Van Houten, "I was absolutely intrigued and mesmerized by Manson and I believed that he was someone very special and extraordinary". Leslie went along with the others on the night of the Labianca murders because she wanted to prove herself. She was very close with, and looked up to, Patricia Krenwinkel. In Leslie's mind, if Pat was willing to murder, than so was she. At the Labianca residence, Leslie helped Patricia Krenwinkel and Charles "Tex" Watson kill Rosemary Labianca. Afterwhich, Leslie wiped the house down for fingerprints, changed clothes, and eventually hitchhiked back to Spahn's Ranch. 

Leslie was arrested with the family in both the August 16, 1969 Spahn's Ranch and October 10, 1969 Barker Ranch raids. During police questioning she revealed that Susan Atkins was involved with the Hinman murder; that Linda Kasabian, Susan Atkins, and Patricia were at the Tate residence on the night of the murders; and that Linda was the one that didn't kill anyone. 

Leslie's behavior at the Tate/Labianca murder trial ranged from strange to uncooperative. She and the other girls sang on their way to court, and on Charlie's orders, dismissed a series of public defenders. Because she wasn't involved with the Tate murders, Leslie's lawyers tried unsuccessfully to separate her from the other defendants. She was eventually convicted of 2 counts of first-degree murder and 1 count conspiracy to commit murder and subsequently sentenced to death. 

In 1972, Leslie's death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment when California briefly outlawed the death penalty. As the reality of what she had done sunk in, Leslie began having problems with eating and developed severe Anorexia. However, with time and help from meditation, she overcame her eating disorder within a few years. 

Because her attorney Ronald Hughes (whom many believed was murdered by the Manson family) had disappeared in the middle of the first trial, Leslie was granted a second one. The trial started in January of 1977 and ended with a deadlocked jury in September. She had long since disassociated herself from Manson and was quite a different person from the first trial. Between her second and third trial she was out on bail for about six months, during which, she lived with a friend and worked on her case. In March of 1978 Leslie's third trial started, and this time she was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment. 

Back in prison, Leslie had a jailhouse marriage with Bill Cywin, a former prisoner that she had corresponded with. However, the marriage came to a quick end when it was found out that he was planning to break her out of prison. Through correspondence courses, Leslie received a B.A. in English Literature from Antioch University. She has been active with both Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous. She briefly edited a prison newspaper and has been active with programs that teach other prisoners how to read. 

Out of all the Tate/Labianca killers, it is generally believed that Leslie has the best chance of getting paroled. She has been denied parole numerous times but continues to get encouragement (or maybe false hope) from the board of prison terms. In 2002, she went before a San Bernardino judge to appeal her thirteenth parole denial. She felt that the parole board was denying her because who she was in 1969 as opposed to who she is now. Judge Bob Krug agreed: "Other than the finding as to the gravity of the offense, there is a complete lack of any evidence to support the decision of the board," Krug said. "The board failed to make a finding that (Van Houten's) institutional behavior was a factor tending to show her suitability for parole. To fail to do so is an arbitrary and capricious consideration." Krug gave the parole board 60 days to come back with a reason why she wasn't being paroled. Meanwhile, Leslie had her fourteenth parole hearing and was denied for one year. 

Leslie is currently living at the  California Institute for Women in Frontera.

PAUL ALAN WATKINS
AKA: Little Paul
DOB: 1.25.50
DOD: 8.3.90

At the age of one, Paul Alan Watkins moved to Sidon, Lebanon, where his father worked on a pipeline. After five years in Sidon the Watkins family moved back across the Atlantic to Beaumont, Texas and finally Thousand Oaks, California. Watkins was one of six children (3 sisters & 2 brothers), he enjoyed going to church, was a talented musician, and was considered "gifted" by his High School teachers. 

Paul joined the Manson family in 1968 after running into them in Topanga Canyon a number of times. According to Paul's own account, he was Manson's second in command. Like many other family members, much of Watkins's time was spent working at Spahn's Ranch. Manson had Paul enroll at a local high school, to try a recruit new faces to the family, however Watkins only attended a couple weeks. 

In the summer of 1969, Watkins met a 46-year-old miner in Death Valley named Paul Crocket. Crocket had been living with family members Brooks Poston and Juanita Wildebush at the Barker Ranch. Brooks had told Crocket about Manson and Helter Skelter, and the miner felt they had been programmed to think the way Manson thought. Crocket then successfully led Brooks, Wildebush, and Watkins away from Manson and the family. 

In a bid to scare Watkins back into the family, many members bragged to Paul about the murders they committed. At first, Watkins didn't believe the family could be involved with such hideous acts. But after a few more confrontations, Paul, Brooks, and Crocket decided to go to the police. Watkins became a key witness in the Tate-Labianca murder trial, providing prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi with the blueprints of the Helter Skelter motive, including Charlie's connections between the Bible and the Beatles. During this time, Paul was almost killed in a trailer fire that was widely speculated to have been set by family members upset with Paul for snitching on Charlie. 

After the Manson trial, Watkins continued playing music with his friend Brooks Poston, as well as giving lectures on the effects of drugs and cults. Later in life, he became the founder and President of the Death Valley Chamber of Commerce, and the unofficial Major of Tecopa, California. Paul married twice and had two daughters with his 2nd wife Martha. Paul Watkins died of Leukemia in the summer of 1990. 


^ CHARLES DENTON WATSON
AKA: Tex, Charles Montgomery, Mad Charlie
DOB: 12.2.45
Prisoner ID: B37999
Prison: Mule Creek Sate Prison
Fingerprints 

Charles Denton Watson was born on December 2, 1945 in Dallas, Texas. He was the youngest of three children and grew up in the small town of Copeville, Texas. By his own accounts, he had a happy childhood; looking up to his parents, who ran a gas station in town. The Watsons were church going people, and as Charles got older he became more involved with church activities. In high school he was an honor role student, and held some town sports records; he played football, basketball, and track. During his Junior year Watson became an Editor for the school newspaper,Hi Life. 

Things started to change when Charles went away to North Texas State University in September of 1964. His grades started to slip as he became more interested in girls and booze. Through a roommate, Charles got a job as a baggage boy for Braniff Airlines. One of the perks was free flights; once and awhile he would take a girl to Hawaii for the weekend. It was around this period when he began smoking Marijuana and experimenting with other drugs. His Senior year, he decided to go to California to visit a frat brother. Impressed with it, Charles came back to Texas only to tell his parents he was moving out west. 

In California, Watson signed up for classes at Cal State, and got a job as a wig salesman in Beverly Hills. He lived in a few different places; first there was an apartment in Silverlake, and then he moved to Laurel Canyon. He messed up his knee in a car accident in the Canyon, which kept him out of the Army. After dropping out of school, he moved to Malibu and opened a wig shop with his roommate. The store was called Love Locs, and it turned out to be a disaster; closing after only a few months. To pay the rent, Watson began dealing pot full time. 

Charles picked up Beach Boy Dennis Wilson hitchhiking, and Wilson invited him back to his mansion. Watson visited the house several times and ended up living there for the summer. Charles Manson and the family were regulars at Wilson's mansion, and with time Watson decided to join, giving them all of his possessions. According to Watson: "For years I'd struggled to accumulate all I could: the right car, the right clothes, the right things that would somehow complete what I thought was missing inside me. Now I gave all, everything I had, to Charlie. Suddenly I felt very free." 

At Spahn's Ranch, Charles Watson became Tex Watson (a nickname he got from Spahn's Ranch owner George Spahn). He lived with family throughout the fall of 1968, enjoying the girls and the drugs, but decided to leave in the end of November. Tex moved into a Hollywood apartment with a girl named Luella. The couple made a good living selling dope; Tex bought expensive clothes and even began having his hair styled. Luella ended up getting pregnant, and had to go down to Mexico to have an abortion. 

In March of 1969, Tex decided to go back to the family. Things had changed since he left, people were now buzzing about an upcoming revolution called Helter Skelter. In April, he was arrested in Van Nuys for public intoxication. He was high on Belladonna, slithering on his hands and knees through a crowd of children saying "beep, beep, beep". 

Sometime in the spring or summer of 1969, both Charles Manson and Tex went out looking for people to murder. They ended up in a Casino parking lot waiting for people to come out. Tex, with a knife in hand, came up on two elderly women in their car. Just in the nick of time the women sped away; Manson and Watson chased the two for about fifteen minutes before giving up. 

Later that summer, Tex set up a fake drug deal to burn his ex-girlfriend Luella, and a man named Bernard "Lottsapapa" Crowe out of $2,500 (around $12,300 today). The angered Crowe started threatening Luella, as well as the family, so Manson ended up shooting him in the stomach (Manson thought Crowe died, but he didn't. Crowe survived the attack but didn't report it to the police). 

On the evening of August 8, 1969, Charles Manson told Tex to go to 10050 Cielo Drive and kill everyone there. So Tex, along with Susan Atkins, Patricia Krenwinkel, and Linda Kasabian went to the house and did just that. Watson led the group and had a hand in the murder of everyone there. The following day, the group once again piled into the car; this time with Steve Grogan, Leslie Van Houten, and Manson himself joined them. After driving for hours, Tex, Leslie, and Pat were dropped out at the Labianca residence. Once again Tex was the leader, delivering death blows to both Leno and Rosemary. According to Watson, there would've been more murders, if it weren't for a phone call the following day. Mrs. Watson was worried about her son because she hadn't heard from him in six months. She called one of his friends telling him to go find Tex. Watson then made up a story, and told Manson that the FBI had come looking for him at his parent's house. 

Watson and the rest of the family moved to Death Valley at the end of the summer. Before going, Tex helped Charlie, Bruce and Clem kill ranch hand Donald "Shorty" Shea. On October 2nd, Tex decided to flee the ranch and headed back to Texas; where he got a respectable haircut and even began dating a girl. On November 30th, he was arrested in Texas for the Tate/Labianca murders. He and his lawyers fought the extradition back to California for nine months (this is why he didn't go on trial with Charlie and the three girls). 

Back in California, Tex began regressing to a fetal state; he stopped talking and eating, dropping 55 pounds. He was admitted to Atascadero State Hospital for a 90-day observation period to determine if he was able to stand trial. He stayed there until February of 1970 when he was deemed able to stand trial. 

Like the others, District Attorney Vincent Bugliosi prosecuted Tex for the murders. On October 12, 1971, he was convicted of seven counts of first degree murder and one count conspiracy to commit murder. A week later, the same jury took only two and-a-half hours to determined that Tex was sane at the time of the murders. Two days later, on October 21, Charles "Tex" Watson was sentenced to the gas chamber. 

Tex was sent to ^ San Quentin, where he stayed until September of 1972. He was then moved to the California Men's Colony in San Luis Obispo after California briefly outlawed the death penalty. Three years later, he found Jesus and was born-again with help from the famous prison Chaplain Raymond Hoekstra. Tex became a student Chaplain; led Bible studies, preached to a small congregation and even baptized. A year before his first parole hearing, Tex wrote an autobiography entitled Will You Die For Me? Shortly after, he married a women named Kristin, and founded his own prison ministry, Abounding Love Ministries. Watson also completed courses in data processing and office machine repair. In 1987, a woman named Suzanne Laberge began visiting him. Laberge, who was actually Suzanne Struthers (Rosemary Labianca's daughter), attended Watson's 1990 parole hearing, telling the parole board that because of Christ, Tex was a new man, no longer dangerous and should be released. Sharon Tate's mother, Doris, and other members of the Labianca family made it clear that Suzanne wasn't speaking for the rest of them. In 1993, Tex was moved to Mule Creek State Prison in Ione, California. Through conjugal visits, Charles has father three boys and one girl with his wife Kristin. However, California no longer allows conjugal visits for prisoners convicted of murder. 

Charles "Tex" Watson has been denied parole 13 times. His next hearing will be held in 2005. 


^ CHARLES MILLES MANSON
AKA: Charles Willis Manson, Charles Maddox, the Wizard, Jesus Christ, JC, the Gardener, the Devil
DOB: 11.12.34
Prisoner ID: B33920
Prison: California State Prison(at Corcoran)
fingerprints
rap sheet (Adobe Acrobat required)

Charles Maddox was born "No name" Maddox in Cincinnati, Ohio on November 12, 1934. His mother was a 16-year-old runaway named Kathleen Maddox, and his father, a man named Colonel Scott. Charlie took the surname Manson from William Manson, a man his mother was briefly married to. In 1940, Kathleen was convicted of Strong Armed Robbery and sentenced to 5 years at Moundsville Sate Prison. Young Charlie bounced around from grand parents to aunts and uncles, and those early years were full of mixed messages. He went from living with strict religious grand parents, to an uncle that thought he was a sissy and dressed him in girl's clothes for the first day of school. Charlie also had more rebellious influences; he lived with an uncle, that one day blew himself up in his moonshine still because the law was going to take his land. 

Charlie briefly lived with his mother after she was released from jail, but was given up to the state after his mother's boyfriend said he'd didn't like having Charlie around. Manson was sent to the Gibault Home for Boys in Terre Haute, Indiana. After running away and getting arrested on a stolen bike, Charlie was sent to Father Flanagan's Boys Town. He ran away after 4 days, stole a car, and committed several armed robberies. When caught, he was sent to the Indiana School for Boys in Plainfield, Indiana, where he claims he was repeatedly raped. Once again Charlie escaped and stole a car, this time heading towards California. He was arrested in Utah, and because he had taken a stolen car across state lines, Charlie had violated the Dyer Act, a federal law. He spent the next 3 years in 4 different facilities; the National Training School for Boys in Washington, D.C., the Natural Bridge Honor Camp, the Federal Reformatory at Petersburg, VA, and the Federal Reformatory at Chillicothe, Ohio. 

In January of 1955, Charlie married a 17-year-old girl named Rosalie Jean Willis. The two headed to California in a stolen car, and once again Manson had violated the Dyer Act; he was arrested in Los Angeles 3 months later. Rosalie was pregnant, so a sympathetic judge gave Charlie probation, which he soon broke. He was sentenced to 3 years atTerminal Island Prison. Shortly after Charles Manson Jr. was born, Rosalie left town with a truck diver; Charlie never saw Rosalie or his son again. Manson was released from Terminal Island in September of 1958, and began pimping a few girls in Hollywood. In May of 1959, Manson was arrested for attempting to cash a stolen $37.50 check. Once again he had broken a federal law, because the check was stolen from a mailbox; he was given a ten-year suspended sentence. It was around that time that Manson married a girl named Leona. On June 1, 1960, Charlie was arrested in Laredo, TX for violating the Mann Act (crossing state lines for the purposes of prostitution). Manson was ordered to serve the ten-year suspended sentence he had received for cashing the stolen check. 

Charlie was sent to McNeil Island Penitentiary in Washington State. While serving his sentence, he learned how to play the guitar and became interested in Scientology. Meanwhile, Leona served Charlie with divorce papers after she gave birth to his second son, Charles Luther Manson. Charlie was transferred to Terminal Island in June of '66, and was finally paroled on March 21, 1967. He requested that they let him stay in jail, but the warden told Charlie he had to leave. Charlie moved up state to the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco. With his guitar and philosophies, Charlie finally found a place to fit in. It was there that he met Mary Brunner, and the family was born. 

Charlie and Mary traveled around California, and the family began to take shape, as more and more people decided to travel with them. Charlie's interest in a music career brought him and the girls to Los Angeles. Through a prison friend, Manson had some contacts at Universal Studios; the family soon found themselves bumping elbows with the rich and famous at posh parties in the Hollywood hills. Charlie quoted the Bible so well that Universal hired him to consult on a film about the second coming of Christ. The executives wanted Christ to come back as a black man, but Charlie didn't see it possible. Whether or not Manson's opinion had any influence on their decision, the executives decided to forget about the project. Although the family took residences in many different locations, the most infamous was Spahn's Movie Ranch in Chatsworth. On April 1, 1968, Charlie became a father for the third time when Mary Brunner gave birth to Valentine Michael Manson. Charlie had named him after the main character in Robert Heinlien's bookStranger In A Strange Land. 

While visiting a friend in San Francisco, Charlie met Dennis Wilson, the drummer of The Beach Boys. Wilson became close with Manson, nicknaming him " The Wizard". He let Charlie and the Family stay at his mansion, drive his cars, and take his clothes. Dennis even spent thousands of dollars having the family's teeth fixed. But more importantly to Charlie, Wilson wanted to sign Manson to his record label. Through Wilson, Charlie met Terry Melcher, a record producer and the son of Doris Day. For a period of time, Melcher was interested in recording Manson's music, as well as making a movie about the family. In the summer of 1969, family member Tex Watson stole $2,000 from a black drug dealer named Bernard "lottasapapa" Crowe. Crowe threaten the Family, so Manson met with him and shot him in the stomach. Around the same time, news organizations reported the murder of a Black Panther, and Charlie believed it was Crowe. This increased paranoia among the family, and they started gathering more weapons, fearing retribution from the Panthers. However, Crowe wasn't a Black Panther, and he wasn't dead; he survived the attack but didn't pursue the matter with the police. 

In late July of 1969, Mary Brunner, Susan Atkins, and Bobby Beausoleil went to get money from a man named Gary Hinman. When Hinman refused to give it to them, the three called Manson at Spahn's Ranch. Along with Bruce Davis, Charlie immediately came over to Hinman's Topanga Canyon home. Upon arriving, Charlie and Gary began a shouting match, and Manson took out a sword and chopped off Hinman's left ear. Immediately afterward, Manson and Davis left in one of Hinman's cars. Two days later, Beausoleil fatally stabbed Hinman, supposedly under Manson's orders. 

On the evening of August 8, 1969, Manson instructed Charles "Tex" Watson to go to the house where Terry Melcher used to live, and kill everybody. Manson then informed Susan Atkins, Patricia Krenwinkel, and Linda Kasabian to go and do what Tex said. The four drove to 10050 Cielo Drive and killed Steven Parent, Jay Sebring, Wojciech Frykowski, Abigail Folger, and Sharon Tate. After the four killers came back to Spahn's Ranch, Charlie and an unknown family member went to the Cielo Drive home to see what the others had done. Manson reportedly moved Tate's body, but changed his mind and put it back where it originally was. Charlie also left a pair of eyeglasses at the scene to try and confuse the police. The following day, Manson accompanied Tex Watson, Susan Atkins, Patricia Krenwinkel, Steve Grogan, Leslie Van Houten, and Linda Kasabian to 3301 Waverly Drive. Manson and Watson entered the home of Leno and Rosemary Labianca. They informed the couple that they were just being robbed, and wouldn't be hurt. Watson tied the couple up, while Manson left the residence and sent in Leslie Van Houten and Patricia Krenwinkel with orders to kill the Labiancas, and hitchhike back to Spahn's Ranch. Manson, Susan Atkins, Steve Grogan, and Linda Kasabian spent the rest of the night driving around looking for other people to murder. 

Charlie and the Family were arrested on August 16, 1969 for suspicion of auto theft, but were released because the search warrant was misdated. Charlie felt that a ranch hand was snitching on him, so he, Bruce Davis, Tex Watson, and Steve Grogan murdered ranch hand Donald "Shorty" Shea, and buried him behind Spahn's Ranch. The Family then moved to the Barker Ranch near Death Valley, and it was there, that the Family was finally apprehended in October of 1969. 

During the trial, Manson tried to represent himself, but because of the complexity of the case, he wasn't allowed. Manson has always claimed that he was innocent of ordering the murders; however, the jury felt otherwise. Manson was convicted of 7 counts of First Degree Murder, 1 count of Conspiracy to Commit Murder and subsequently sentenced to death in the gas chamber. Manson was also convicted of 2 more counts of First Degree Murder for the murders of Gary Hinman and Donald "Shorty" Shea, in which he received a sentence of life imprisonment. 

Manson was sent to San Quentin to await his death sentence. However, California briefly outlawed the death penalty in 1972, and Charlie's sentence was commuted to life imprisonment, making him eligible for parole in 1978. Charlie has bounced around the California prison system throughout the years; from San Quentin, to Folsom State Prison, to the California Medical Facility at Vacaville, back to Folsom, back to San Quentin, back to Vacaville, back to San Quentin, on to the California State Prison at Corcoran, to Pelican Bay State Prison and finally back to Corcoran. Manson spends 23 hours a day in his cell, he is always hand cuffed while being moved throughout the prison, and doesn't get to interact with any other inmates. Manson has been attacked 2 times in jail; once by a member of the Aryan Brotherhood, and once by a Hare Krishna. The latter doused Charlie with paint thinner, and set him on fire over an argument the two were having over religion. Manson received 2nd and 3rd degree burns, mostly to his face and scalp. Charles Manson has been repeatedly denied parole; his next hearing will be held in the spring of 2007. He is now 68.


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