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Manson Family Murders Fast Facts

CNN Editorial Research

Here is a look at Charles Manson and the 1969 “Manson Family” murders.


Birth date: November 12, 1934

Death date: November 19, 2017

Birth place: Cincinnati, Ohio

Birth name: Charles Milles Maddox

Father: Father’s name unavailable publicly

Mother: Kathleen Maddox

Marriages: Rosalie Jean (Willis) Manson (1955-divorce date unknown); was also married to a woman named Leona in the early 1960s, whose last name is not publicly known.

Children: At least two: with Rosalie Jean (Willis) Manson: Charles M. Manson Jr. (1956-1993); with a woman whose name is not publicly available: Charles Luther Manson

Other Facts

Reportedly, during his childhood, Manson’s mother sold him for a pitcher of beer to a woman who wanted to have children. His uncle had to find the woman so that he could get his nephew back.

He later took his stepfather William Manson’s last name.

According to the California Parole Board, Manson had a history of manipulation, controlling behavior and mental illness which included schizophrenia and paranoid delusional behavior.


1947 – At age 12, Manson is sent to Gibault School for Boys in Terre Haute, Indiana, for stealing. Over the next twenty years, he is in and out of reform schools and prison for various crimes.

March 21, 1967 – Manson is released from prison. He tells the prison officials that he doesn’t want to be released, “Oh, no, I can’t go outside there…I knew that I couldn’t adjust to that world, not after all my life had been spent locked up and where my mind was free.” After his release, he moves to San Francisco.

1967-1968 – Manson meets Gary Hinman, a music teacher who introduces him to Dennis Wilson of the Beach Boys.

— Manson attracts a group of followers. The group moves to the Spahn Ranch, outside of Chatsworth, California.

— Wilson introduces Manson to record producer Terry Melcher, the son of actress Doris Day. After initially showing interest in Manson’s music, Melcher declines to work with him further.

— Melcher later moves out of his home on Cielo Drive, and the house is then leased to film director Roman Polanski and his wife, actress Sharon Tate.

July 1969 – Hinman is killed by Manson follower Bobby Beausoleil, accompanied by Manson Family members Mary Brunner and Susan Atkins. The murder is committed at the behest of Manson.

August 8-9, 1969 – At Manson’s command, a small group of his most ardent followers brutally murder five people at the Benedict Canyon home of Polanski, near Hollywood. The victims are Polanski’s pregnant wife, actress Tate, writer Wojciech Frykowski, coffee heiress Abigail Folger and celebrity hair stylist Jay Sebring. Also killed is Steven Parent, who was a friend of the family’s gardener. The murders are committed by followers Atkins, Tex Watson, and Patricia Krenwinkel. Linda Kasabian accompanies them as a lookout.

August 9-10, 1969 – Manson, displeased at the sloppiness of the previous night’s murders, accompanies a group of followers on a search for victims. In the car are: Watson, Atkins, Krenwinkel, Kasabian as well as Leslie van Houten and Steve “Clem” Grogan. After several hours, the group comes upon the house of supermarket executive Leno LaBianca and his wife, Rosemary. The couple are brutally murdered by Watson, Atkins, Krenwinkel and Van Houten.

October 1969 – Manson and his followers are arrested at another remote location, called Barker Ranch, on suspicion of auto theft.

November 6, 1969 – Manson Family member Atkins, already charged in the murder of Hinman, tells inmate Virginia Castro that she killed Tate, “Because we wanted to do a crime that would shock the world, that the world would have to stand up and take notice.”

November 12, 1969 – LA Sheriff’s detectives interview Al Springer, motorcycle gang member who had some association with Manson. Springer tells them that Manson told him about killing people days after the Tate murders.

November 16, 1969 – The LAPD interviews inmate Ronnie Howard about her conversation with Atkins concerning the Tate/LaBianca murders.

November 18, 1969 – Deputy District Attorney Vincent T. Bugliosi is assigned the case.

November 30, 1969 – Watson is apprehended in Texas. His lawyers fight extradition to California for nine months.

December 8, 1969 – Manson, Watson, Atkins, Krenwinkel and Kasabian are indicted for the murders of Tate and her friends. The grand jury also indicts the five, plus Van Houten, for the LaBianca murders.

June 16, 1970 – Trial begins for Manson, Atkins, Krenwinkel and Van Houten.

— Manson appears in court with an “X” carved into his forehead.

— He defends himself in court with the help of attorney Irving Kanarek.

August 1970 – Kasabian is given immunity in exchange for her testimony against Manson and the others.

January 15, 1971 – After a seven-month trial, jury deliberations begin. The jury finds all the defendants guilty on January 25.

March 29, 1971 – Manson, Krenwinkel, Atkins and Van Houten receive the death penalty.

1971 – Watson is found guilty of the murders of seven people and is sentenced to death.

1972 – The death penalty is abolished in California. The sentences for all Manson Family members are commuted to life in prison.

April 11, 2012 – Manson is denied parole for the 12th time. According to the California Parole Board, he has accrued 108 serious disciplinary violations in prison since 1971 and has shown no remorse for the murders. Manson’s next parole hearing is set for 2027, when he will be 92.

November 20, 2013 – A 25-year-old pen pal, who calls herself “Star,” tells Rolling Stone magazine that she considers Manson her husband. The imprisoned cult leader says, however, that Star’s story is “garbage.” She began sending letters to Manson when she was in high school.

November 18, 2014 – Sources tell CNN that Manson and Star have, in fact, obtained a marriage license.

February 2015 – The wedding is called off, according to tabloid reports.

June 6, 2015 – Bugliosi, Manson’s prosecutor and the author of the best-selling book, “Helter Skelter: The True Story of the Manson Murders,” dies in California.

November 19, 2017 – Two days after being transported to the hospital, Manson, 83, dies of natural causes.

March 13, 2018 – After a four-month fight over Manson’s remains, a Kern County judge rules in favor of Jason Freeman who claims he is Manson’s grandson.

Major Players (“Manson Family”)

Susan “Sadie” Denise Atkins:
September 24, 2009 – Dies in prison.

Bobby Beausoleil:
1969 – Convicted of the murder of Gary Hinman. He is serving a life sentence.

October 14, 2016 – Beausoleil is denied parole for the 18th time. He will eligible again for parole consideration in three years.

January 3, 2019 – Beausoleil is recommended for parole at his 19th overall hearing, a California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation spokesman says. The Board of Parole Hearings staff will review the case next and, if it is approved, the case will go to the governor to rule on the parole decision.

April 26, 2019 – California Gov. Gavin Newsom denies parole for Beausoleil.

Bruce Davis:
April 21, 1972 – Convicted of the murders of Hinman and stuntman Donald “Shorty” Shea. He is serving a life sentence.

June 22, 2019 – Is granted parole by the Board, which will be followed by the governor’s final determination as to his release.

November 15, 2019 – Davis’ parole is blocked by Gov. Newsom. This is the sixth time a California governor has blocked his parole.

Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme:
1975 – Attempts to shoot President Gerald Ford.

August 14, 2009 – Is released on parole after serving 34 years.

Steven “Clem” Grogan:
1985Grogan is released on parole after revealing the location of the body of ranch-hand Donald “Shorty” Shea, killed in 1969.

Patricia “Katie” Krenwinkel:
2014 – Krenwinkel provides an interview for the documentary “Life After Manson,” her first on-camera appearance since 1994.

December 2016 – California parole board members delay their decision on freeing Krenwinkel after her attorney raises claims of abuse by Manson, or another member of the cult. The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation issues a statement that the information presented at the hearing does elicit cause for an investigation.

June 22, 2017 – Krenwinkel is denied parole for the 14th time. She will be eligible again for consideration in five years.

Leslie Van Houten:
April 14, 2016 – A parole board panel recommends Van Houten’s release, and the full Board of Parole Hearings will review the decision over the next four months.

July 2016 – California Gov. Brown denies parole for Van Houten.

September 6, 2017 – A two-person state commission panel grants Van Houten parole for the second time. The decision will go through a 120-day legal review before Brown will have 30-days to decide whether Van Houten will be granted parole and released.

January 19, 2018 – Brown denies parole for Van Houten, citing the horrific nature of the murders, Van Houten’s eager participation, and his belief that she minimizes her role in the murders.

January 30, 2019 – Van Houten is recommended for parole at her 22nd overall hearing, according to a California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation spokesman.

July 23, 2020 – Van Houten is recommended for parole for the fourth time by the California Board of Parole Hearings. On November 27, 2020, Van Houten is denied parole.

Charles D. “Tex” Watson:
October 27, 2016 – Watson is denied parole for the 17th time. He will be eligible for reconsideration in five years.

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